I often get questions from my patients about whether the floating spots they are seeing are normal. This is a tricky question because floating spots can be due to a normal age-related change in your vision or could be a sign of a very serious condition that can result in blindness. Scary right? Well below is some information to know whether an eye examination is needed.
Typically floaters are gray or black spots, squiggly lines, or cobweb-like shapes that drift across your field of vision as you move your eyes. While they may be annoying, they usually do not indicate a serious eye condition.
These "normal" floaters are the result of age-related changes in the eye. Our eyes are filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous. As we age, this gel can become partially liquefied. This causes collagen protein fibers in the vitreous to clump together and cast shadows on the retina.
These normal age-related floaters are typically
- Unchanging, appear the same for long period of time
- Very small
- Do not interfere with vision
When to See An Eye Doctor:
Other times floating spots can be a sign of a very serious condition. Floaters can be the result of these conditions
- eye injuries,
- bleeding in the vitreous
- retinal detachment
- hole or tear in the retina
- diqbetic retinopathy
- eye tumors, or
- inflammqtion in the retina or vitreous
You should see an eye care professional immediately if you notice
- floaters associated with sudden flashes of light,
- a sudden increase in the number of floaters,
- floaters associated with eye pain,
- floaters following eye surgery or trauma,
- a loss of side vision, or
- your symptoms worsen over time.
These symptoms can be indications of a detached retina or other serious conditions that can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated quickly. Please call immediately if you are experiencing similar changes.
Crowder Eye Center is proud to offer preventative and emergency eye care services. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
- Joshua E. Crowder, O. D.