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Vitreous Hemorrhage

Condition caused by diabetes among other health factors


Vitreous bleeding causes your vision to suddenly change due to blood that blocks light from reaching the retina. A vitreous hemorrhage can result from a ruptured aneurysm in the eye, trauma to the eye, a retinal tear, a retinal detachment, a new leaky blood vessel (neovascularization caused by Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinal Artery or Vein Occlusion, Macular Degeneration, Carotid Artery Stenosis, etc.) or another underlying disease such as hypertension or sickle cell anemia.

Risk factors

Diabetes, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, sickle cell disease, history of previous retinal tear/detachment, family history of retinal tears/detachments, recent trauma.  If you have diabetes, you are particularly susceptible because diabetes triggers the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye that are weak and which bleed easily. All diabetics should receive an eye exam once a year, or as directed by an ophthalmologist. Vitreous hemorrhage occurs more often in people over 50, but can occur at any age.


Symptoms of vitreous hemorrhage include sudden onset of:

  • Blurry vision

  • Light flashes

  • Floaters (spots and cobwebs that trail across the field of vision)

  • Blindness

  • Reddish tint to vision


Minor hemorrhages often clot and heal over time, although it may take months for the floaters to disappear.  Severe vitreous bleeding can be treated with a vitrectomy surgery +/- laser.  A vitrectomy is a procedure that removes the vitreous gel and the blood from inside the eye, and replaces it with a special saline solution.  Visual recovery depends on the underlying cause.

Interesting Eye Fact:

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