Most of us have occasionally seen a spot or floater in our vision. This post will discuss what causes these spots and floaters and when you should be concerned and see your optometrist.
The technical name is a floater (seriously) and they are imperfections within the jelly-like substance behind the pupil of the eye called the vitreous. When light enters the eye and hits these imperfections small shadows are created on the surface of the retina that are perceived as amoebas, threads, or spots in the vision. The vitreous gel inside our eye changes as we age (more imperfections-imagine that) so floaters generally become more noticeable as we get older.
One or two floaters that are brief in appearance are usually normal. We become more concerned with persistent floaters that blur the vision or that are accompanied with flashes of light in the vision. Flashes of light can indicate traction on the retina which can result in retinal tears or detachments. Persistent floaters can also be an indication of other problems such as hemorrhages or inflammatory conditions within the eye. If you have new, persistent floaters or flashes of light in your vision, then you should should have your eyes examined as soon as possible.
By Dr. Cook, O.D.