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Spots and Floaters

Do you see small dark dots, rings, cobwebs, squiggly lines that may be accompanied by flashes of light?  Do they seem to appear suddenly and keep increasing in number? Have you experience eye pain or blurred vision as a result?

If this is the case, you are experiencing spots or floaters.

What Are Spots and Floaters?

According to eye practitioners, spots are cloudy or semi-transparent specks within your eye, that you see when they fall within your line your sight.

The inner part of your eye is made up of vitreous, which is a clear jelly like substance. As you grow old, this fluid becomes more liquid, causing structural fibres and cells to detach and float around in the fluid. In other cases, small flecks of protein and other matter, are trapped in your vitreous before birth, as your eye begins to form. This is what causes the floaters that you may see from time to time.

When your vitreous shrinks, it pulls the retina, which stimulates your retinal receptors to ‘fire’ and cause flashes of light.

Floaters appear within your eye, and tend to move with the movement of your eyes. They also seem to dart away when you try looking at them directly, and are most prominent after looking at a white background, a computer screen or a clear sky for a long time.

Everyone experiences these spots at some point in their life, and they may start occurring more frequently as you age, as a result of a process called the posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).Moreover, there are floaters caused by certain injuries and eye diseases.

Can These Spots Cause Blindness?

In most occasions, spots are normal and cannot cause blindness. However, if there is a noticeable change in the size and number of the spots, this may be a clear indication of a more severe problem. You should contact us immediately for a through comprehensive eye exam. Early detection can prevent causing more harm to your eyesight.

In some cases, the vitreous may detach and cause small tears in your retina, resulting into a burred spot in your vision. If not detected early enough, retinal tears can cause blindness.

Recent studies indicate that about 39% of people who reported experiencing symptoms related to floaters were later diagnosed with PVD. 9% of the patients were also  diagnosed with a torn retina.

How Are Spots Diagnosed?

During your initial consultation, your optometrist will use special instruments to examine your eyes.

The instruments are only used after an application of special eye drops in your eyes, to dilate your pupils and provide the doctor with a larger view for observation. They also allow for a more comprehensive examination of your inner eye, and a likely observation of the spots.

 

How Are Spots Treated?

In most cases, spots and floaters do not pose a serious eye condition and thus, are not treatable. When they are an indication of a vitreous or retinal attachment, your optometrist will recommend lasers or surgical treatments to prevent blindness.

Spots and floaters can be a normal occurrence, or signify a severe eye condition. You should contact us immediately you experience any abnormal signs for a comprehensive eye exam and diagnosis.