What are These Spots in My Vision? (Eye Floaters)

By Dr. Richard Barnstein

Whenever someone finds out that I’m an eye doctor, one of the most common questions they’ll ask is, “What are these spots I sometimes see in my vision?” Fortunately, most of the time, these spots, which can be known as “vitreous floaters”, are harmless. It’s important to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination, where an eye doctor can take a good look at the back of the eye to make sure everything is healthy with the eye. If you have “spots in your vision” and haven’t had an eye examination since you first noticed the floaters, I suggest you visit an eye doctor. If flashes of light also accompany the floaters, then it’s even more important to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor immediately. Sometimes the floaters can be caused by shifts in the jelly like substance in the eye called the vitreous. A small percentage of the time, floaters can be caused by an area of aggravation in the retina, that can lead to a tear, hole, or even retinal detachment. If someone has migraines, sometimes they can also have accompanying “eye migraines” or “ophthalmic migraines,” where they may notice spots or sparkles in their vision. How do you know if the retina is healthy or not? Have your eyes examined to be safe. For people with spots and even flashes after 40-50 years of age, they can sometimes have what’s called a “posterior vitreous detachment.” This is where the vitreous (jelly like substance) shrinks in size, where it pulls away from the front and back of the eye, causing a shakeup. In most cases, a posterior vitreous detachment is harmless, but it’s still important to have it checked by an eye doctor to make sure there’s nothing wrong with the retina. If you are diagnosed with vitreous floaters that turn out to be the harmless type, there is usually not a lot you can do to treat them. Over time, the brain will adapt to the spots in your vision, where they will hopefully become less noticeable. When you visit an eye doctor and they diagnosis you with floaters that are not harming your retina, you should still have the floaters monitored at least annually.

About Eyedrbarnstein

Dr. Richard Barnstein is an optometrist / partner with Professional Vision in the Baltimore area. ( Timonium and Carney ) Professional Vision is a boutique eyecare practice, with fashionable designer frames and sunglasses. We have an eye doctor available for eye appointments for contacts, comprehensive eye exams, and treatment of eye emergencies 6 days a week, at Timonium & Carney. Dr. Richard Barnstein, a Baltimore native, graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) in 1994. He attended James Madison University (1987-90) where he was accepted early into optometry school. Dr. Barnstein is therapeutically licensed to treat eye disease, and diagnoses and manages glaucoma. He also specializes in difficult contact lens fittings, dry eye disease, and LASIK co-management. Dr. Richard Barnstein is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Maryland Optometric Association. Dr. Richard Barnstein enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 children, and puppy goldendoodle. He's an avid Ravens, Terps, and Orioles fan, and loves live music. Profession Vision on Twitter Dr. Richard Barnstein on Twitter Check out Dr. Barnstein's Live Music and Sports Blog, Farmerstanproductions!
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