Why does the eye see black smoke

Visual disturbances

Visual disturbances can be associated with a number of different symptoms - from flashes of light to blurred vision to flickering eyes. Sometimes the symptoms are harmless, only temporary and go away on their own, for example in the case of circulatory disorders. In other cases, you better take the symptoms of the visual disturbance seriously and act quickly - because serious illnesses can be the cause. Doctors are familiar with different types of vision problems and symptoms. The most important at a glance!

Color ametropia / color blindness

Under color ametropia, ophthalmologists summarize color weakness and color blindness. When the color is weak, certain light-sensitive cells in the retina - the cones - do not function adequately. Color blindness means that one or more types of cones are missing in the retina - those affected can no longer see certain colors.

The worst form is complete color blindness. This visual disorder means: seeing the world in gray. A very common phenomenon is the congenital red-green weakness or colloquially red-green blindness - almost only men suffer from it. Diseases such as glaucoma (glaucoma), diabetes or Alzheimer's weaken the function of the cones or cause them to fail completely - then color blindness is acquired.

Night blindness

Some people only have visual problems in the dark. The cause of night blindness (nyctalopia) lies in the second type of light-sensing cells in the retina: the rods. They can differentiate between light and dark and ensure that a person can see well in twilight and at night. The rods are already active at very low light intensity. If they don't work well enough or if they even fail completely, see People with night blindness don't have much or nothing in the dark anymore. They find it difficult to orientate themselves.

The eye disease retinitis pigmentosa can be behind the inherited night blindness. First the rods and later the cones for color vision gradually lose their function. If night blindness only develops in the course of life, a retinal detachment or a vitamin A deficiency may be to blame. The latter, however, hardly ever occurs in industrialized countries with good medical and food supplies.

Eye flicker, flashes of light, zigzag lines

Some people with vision problems notice light phenomena such as lightning, zigzag lines (colored spikes) and flickering eyes. Doctors speak of "Photopsia". Such light phenomena are frequent companions in certain diseases, for example migraines and epilepsy. Eye migraines (ophthalmic migraines) also often occur with flickering eyes, flashes of light and restrictions in the field of vision. In contrast to migraines, headaches are only sometimes added and are less pronounced. Eye migraine is a special form of migraine.

Sudden visual disturbances such as the flickering in front of the eyes usually go away on their own. If not, be careful! Because the Retina can peel off or take off the vitreous - then there is a risk of complete blindness! Elderly people in particular are at risk of vitreous detachment, as this shrinks over the course of their lives. If your eyes flicker for a long time, have yourself driven to the emergency room immediately - but never drive the car yourself!

Double vision (diplopia)

Most people who have had too much alcohol are probably familiar with visual disturbances in the form of double vision. But diseases of the eye and other diseases can also be responsible for the double vision. Examples are disorders of the eye muscles, certain cranial nerves or the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis. If the double vision only appears in one eye (monocular diplopia), astigmatism or a cataract may be to blame.

Visual field defects (scotomas)

A visual field loss means that a person no longer perceives the same size of the room as before - the field of vision is restricted, narrowed and the visual acuity in this area is reduced. Visual field defects are visual disturbances that can affect the central area, but also the edges (tunnel vision).

There are a variety of triggers for this restricted field of vision. Examples are cataracts, green star (glaucoma), macular degeneration, optic nerve inflammation or retinal damage. Many of these eye diseases can lead to blindness. Other diseases such as a stroke, injuries to the eye and brain or tumors are also associated with visual field defects.

Blurred vision

One of the most common visual disturbances is when people suddenly have blurred vision. They see blurred and describe the visual impairment as if they perceived their environment through a fog or veil. The reasons can be overexerted eyes, ametropia (e.g. nearsightedness / farsightedness), glaucoma or, in the worst case, retinal detachment. In the latter case, you have to act quickly because blindness threatens!

"Flying Mosquitos"

If small threads or dots suddenly fly over the field of vision, this is not always a cause for concern. The "flying mosquitoes" or French "Floaters“Are mostly harmless and result from opacities in the vitreous humor. These cast shadows on the retina that you perceive as threads or streaks. They occur more often with severe myopia and increasing age. However, if they seriously affect your eyesight, always see an ophthalmologist. Because behind the flying mosquitoes there could also be a vitreous detachment or retinal detachment.

"Seeing asterisks"

Those who see asterisks usually have low blood pressure. There is not enough oxygenated blood in the brain and the blood pressure drops sharply. Therefore, the retina no longer properly processes the light stimuli that appear in front of the eyes bright, flashing points ("Asterisk"). If the blood pressure continues to fall, your eyes will go black and there is a risk of fainting. If your blood pressure is permanently too low (but especially too high), it is better to consult a doctor.

Colorful (colored) rings

A visual disorder where you see colored rings can be caused by glaucoma. In addition, most of them see through a fog, their eyesight deteriorates and they experience visual field defects. In the event of a glaucoma attack, the intraocular pressure rises rapidly within a short time, as the aqueous humor can no longer drain and is stuck in the eye. Without a timely lowering of the intraocular pressure, long-term damage can occur - even blindness.

Soot rain, veil and fog

Anyone who sees a rain of soot in the form of fine black dots, flashes of light or large black spots in front of the eye should be alerted immediately. A tear in the retina may be the cause of the vision problems. The vitreous becomes detached from the retina, tearing it in the process. At a Retinal tear In addition, a veil (the visual disorder is also called foggy vision) or a "wall" appears in front of the eye. Those affected should see a doctor immediately!


From a medical point of view, blindness means that the eyesight is completely absent (amaurosis). Blindness can be congenital or acquired during a lifetime. The most common cause is macular degeneration, which is the damage to the retina. Illnesses, injuries and inflammation of the brain can also damage the visual center in the brain - blindness is the result.