Spots & Floaters
What Are Spots and Floaters?
Spots (often called floaters) are small, semitransparent or cloudy specks or particles within the fluid inside the eye that become noticeable when they move within the line of sight. They may also appear with flashes of light.
Does Everyone Have Spots?
Almost everyone sees a few spots at one time or another. They can occur more frequently and become more noticeable as you grow older. If you notice a sudden change in the number or size of the spots, you should contact your doctor of optometry right away for an examination to be sure they are not the result of a more serious problem.
What Causes Spots?
The inner part of your eye is filled with a clear, jelly-like fluid known as the vitreous. Occasionally, small flecks of protein and other matter become trapped during the formation of the eye before birth and remain in the vitreous body. Spots and floaters may also be caused by the age-related deterioration of the eye fluid or its surrounding parts, or by certain injuries or eye diseases.
What Do Spots Look Like?
Spots are generally translucent specks of various shapes and sizes. They may also appear as threadlike strands or cobwebs within the eye. Since they are within the eye, they move as the eye moves and often seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
Can These Spots Cause Blindness?
Most spots are normal and are not a cause of blindness. But, sometimes, spots can be indications of more serious problems; if you see them, you should have a optometric examination to determine the cause.
How Are Spots Diagnosed?
In a comprehensive eye examination, your doctor of optometry will look into your eyes with special instruments such as a slit lamp (biomicroscope) and an ophthalmoscope. Your optometrist uses these instruments to examine the health of the inside of your eyes and may also observe the spots within your eyes. This is often done after your doctor puts special drops in your eyes to make the pupils larger (called dilation) to allow a larger view of the inside of your eyes.
This information provided by the American Optometric Association (AOA). To find out more, visit their website at www.aoa.org.