The initial symptoms of vitreous hemorrhage are floaters and cloudy vision. Floaters we associate with bleeding, patients describe as lines, spider webs, or many dark dots. If the vitreous hemorrhage is very significant, there could be a major loss of vision. Whenever there has been a sudden onset of floaters or visual loss, a prompt, careful retinal examination is necessary both to diagnose the underlying cause of the vitreous bleeding and to determine if you require any specific therapy.

A vitreous hemorrhage may result from proliferative retinopathy, the condition in which new, abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. This is referred to as neovascularization. When not treated, these new blood vessels may continue to grow and spread through the vitreous onto the pupil area. This can increase ocular pressure (pressure within the eye) that presses on the optic nerve. Damage to the optic nerve is irreparable and can lead to vision loss. Bleeding from a vitreous hemorrhage can also cause scar tissue to form near the back of the eye. This can pull the retina away from the back lining of the eye, requiring additional treatment to keep the retina from detaching and permanently damaging vision.