9 September 2019
9 September 2019
Black spots: A common problem in optometry
Seeing black spots, light flashes or floaters in your eyes can be unsettling and disturbing. Did you know that this is one of the most common reasons people consult an optometrist? And it’s a very good reflex, because this minor element that can be slightly bothersome can become a more serious vision problem. Although, in the great majority of cases, the symptoms are rather harmless, the presence of black spots can nevertheless be associated with retinal traction, holes and rips.
4 types of spots in the etes
Floaters in the eye are mainly natural
Floaters can be seen in a variety of ways by patients. Some see a cobweb appearance, others perceive permanent spots, blotches or threads, called muscae volitantes (Latin for “flying flies”). In most cases, the cause is natural. It is a degradation of the vitreous body, that is, the gelatinous mass that fills the back cavity of the eyeball.
Vitreous detachement and other problems caused by black spots
At around 50-55 years of age, the degradation of the vitreous becomes more advanced, which causes a detachment of the vitreous. The symptoms of detachment are associated with a greater appearance of floaters and light flashes in the eye. These light flashes are caused by the separation of the vitreous from the retina.
During a vitreous detachment examination, 2-5% of patients may present a tear in the retina in the following weeks, hence the importance of re-examining patients within 4 to 8 weeks after the first visit. In fact, when the presence of spots in the eyes is more acute, in 8 to 15% of cases, it is in fact a retinal tear.
Treatment of vitreous detachement
In summary, if the appearance of floaters, light flashes or black spots is recent, it is important to consult your optometrist, because you cannot otherwise tell if it is a superficial or an urgent case. By examining your eyes, the optometrist will quickly be able to make the appropriate diagnosis and avoid complications. If the retina is not affected, there is no recommended treatment but, in general, the perception of floaters subsides in the weeks or months following vitreous detachment.
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