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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
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Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I woke up this morning with noticeable spider web like images

Resolved Question:

I woke up this morning with noticeable spider web like images in my left eye and have been experiencing vertical flashes in the same eye all day.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your inquiry.

 

What you are experiencing are called vitreous floaters. These floating spots or "black spots" are tiny pieces of the vitreous jelly that occupies a large amount of the volume of the back of the eye. This vitreous jelly, when we're born, is the consistency of a jello jiggler (thick jello). As we age it liquifies and becomes more fibrous bands and water. These vitreous floaters do tend to happen more the older we get, but can happen at a young age.

 

Because of this liquification and the resultant fibrous bands that are left, there becomes more points of traction that the jelly exerts on the back of the eye where it is attached. As we move our eyes in different directions and as our pupils change shape, or even as we rub our eyes, some of these bands can become unattached from the back of the eye and a piece of it floats around, attached still to the rest of the jelly. These tractional forces that are occurring to result in these floaters are still happening. The brain interprets the traction on the retina in the form of flashes or arcing lights.

 

The floaters can take many different shapes which sometimes are as individual as the person having them. They can be screen-like, look like little gnats, in the shape of rings, spider-web like images as you are having or big clumps.

 

Unfortunately, there is nothing that really can be done to definitively rid yourself of these floaters besides major surgery. Therefore, surgery to remove these floating spots is usually reserved for when they floaters are large or are significantly disrupting your vision and causing problems in your life. Thankfully, these floaters usually tend to get "better" in that either: 1) the brain learns how to ignore them, or 2) they break up somewhat, or 3) they drift out of your view.

 

The most important thing to know about these floaters, besides the fact that they usually improve over time, is that uncommonly this process can lead to a break, hole, or tear in the retina, which can then lead to a retinal detachment, which can blind you. For this reason, it is important to see your ophthalmologist as soon as you can for a dilated eye exam to see if there are any problems with the retina. Four signs of a retinal detachment include: sudden increase in floaters, flashing or arcing lights that are persistent and not going away (not a few intermittent ones), a shade/shadow/spot in your vision that you can't see light through, or a large drop in your vision which doesn't improve after a few minutes. For any of these symptoms you must see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

 

Does this help address your concerns?

 

I am happy to be able to help you today. If you would be so kind, please help me get credit for my efforts in answering your questions and press the ACCEPT button for this encounter. I would also be happy to continue to answer any more questions you have until we have resolved your concern.

 

Also, any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated.

 

My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must be examined by your doctor.

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