Moving dots are bothering you? As we age, certain vision-related problems appear, which in most cases we ignore, which is a mistake. Find out below why you see bright sparks before your eyes, floating particles, cobwebs or flickering. We will also explain when it is a serious condition and when it is a harmless phenomenon.
A minor symptom that you once ignored develops very easily and quickly, and you can see it in front of your eyes, for example, in the form of flashes or floating particles resembling cobwebs or flying flies.
These are smaller flashes of light and floating particles that vibrate in front of your eyes and on which you cannot focus your eyes, because they follow the movement of your eyes and remain in the direction of your gaze.
The floating particles that you see in front of your eyes are actually floating cloudy deposits (opacity) , which are located inside the normally transparent vitreous and which are not fixed inside the eye. This is exactly why the eye sees blurs, due to the shadows of opacities that are created on the retina. Almost everyone sometimes notices floating particles in front of the eyes, but in old age they appear more often.
Floating particles caused by vitreous detachment (ablation) are more common in people who:
- older than 50
- short sighted
- performed an operation to remove a cataract (cataract)
- have diabetes
- had an eye infection
- had an eye injury
How do occasional moving dots in the eyes occur?
When the vitreous – the gel that fills the eye – pulls on the retina , you may see what looks like flashes of light or bright sparks. You can also experience these sensations as a result of a blow to the eye. After the impact, stars most often appear in front of the eyes .
Luminous sparks before the eyes may appear and disappear over a period of several weeks or months . Although these phenomena are normal with age, be sure to contact an ophthalmologist if you notice the sudden appearance of flashes, as this may mean damage to the retina .
When to see a doctor to solve moving dots in the eyes?
Because the flashes or floating particles you see can be an indication of a serious eye problem, you should see a doctor when:
- notice floating particles before your eyes for the first time
- notice that the number or size of floating particles has increased
- suddenly flashes appear before your eyes
- you see a dark “curtain” or shadow moving in your field of vision
- you notice blurred vision with glitter before the eyes and particles
- with bright sparks in front of your eyes and flies you have eye pain
- the phenomenon becomes present after eye surgery or eye injury
What causes moving dots and luminous sparks before the eyes?
Many people, especially the elderly , notice opacities and luminous sparkles in front of their eyes . These phenomena are usually caused by a harmless process called posterior vitreous ablation (PVD). The most common cause of vitreous ablation is age.
Sometimes the cause can be retinal detachment , that is, detachment of the retina – this is a serious condition in which the retina pulls away from the back of the eye. Retinal ablation can lead to permanent vision loss if treatment is not started immediately.
If the floating particles and “flies” in your eye are not a sign of retinal damage, they may disappear, become less visible, or remain and become even more irritating.
The cause of the appearance of “flies” can also be bleeding in the eye . Bleeding into the vitreous can have many causes, including diabetes, blocked blood vessels, or eye injuries . We see blood cells floating in the vitreous as floating particles.
Also, sometimes floating particles and sparks can appear for no apparent reason .
Rarely, moving dots in the eyes can be a sign of:
- eye pain
- eye injuries
- diabetic retinopathy
Serious eye conditions associated with floating particles include:
- detached retina (ablation)
- torn retina
- bleeding in the vitreous
- inflammation of the vitreous or retina caused by infection or an autoimmune condition
A visual aura may resemble floating particles in the eyes, however a visual aura appears in ocular migraines.
Treatment of floating particles in the eyes
If you only have a few floating particles that don’t change over time, don’t worry.
Contact your doctor immediately in the following cases:
- a sudden increase in the number of floating particles
- flashes of light
- loss of peripheral vision
- changes that come on suddenly and get worse
- floating particles after eye surgery or eye injury
- pain in the eyes
If you don’t get help right away, you could lose your sight.
Can moving dots be removed or treated?
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the opacities and flashes. Although the most common cause is a harmless vitreous ablation, it is always advisable to have an examination by an ophthalmologist to make sure that the retina has not been damaged .
While some opacities remain visible forever, many will fade over time or become less irritating. Even if you have been seeing floating particles in your eye for years, you should have an ophthalmological examination if you notice new ones.
There are certain treatments to remove the opacities, but they are rarely used or are still in the testing phase.
A drug has been developed that can “dissolve” the vitreous, thereby theoretically reducing their number, but for now we have no long-term studies on this.
Some ophthalmologists perform laser removal or “breaking up” of harmless opacities , but the question is whether it is worth exposing the eyes to such a procedure considering the possible serious consequences . We will know more about the safety of laser opacity removal in the future, when detailed clinical trials and analyzes are performed.
In most cases, there are no serious problems that require treatment, but a complete specialist eye examination in old age is necessary. If it is a question of damage to the retina , the problem needs to be diagnosed and treated in time to prevent damage to vision and eventually complete loss of vision.
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