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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11026
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I have Macular degeneration in right eye, left eye less damage

Resolved Question:

I have Macular degeneration in right eye, left eye less damage & now have what looks like
an oval or ball with what looks like smoke rings in the left eye, the size varies & jitters less if I am calm I have been going to a retina doctor who cannot or will not say wht it is & what is going on. I am a senior citizen & must find out so I can prepare for what can happen to the sight in the left "good eye. Please advise me. Thank you.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Do you have wet or dry macular degeneration in your right eye? Do you know what type of macular degeneration you have in your left eye?

Customer:

Dry

Dr. Rick :

I am a retina doc also.

Dr. Rick :

Ok. So. In addition to this oval/smoke ring things in the vision in your left eye, have you noticed any changes in your amsler grid?

Dr. Rick :

Hi. Are you still there?

Customer:

What is this grid?

Customer:

My regular reading has been ok.

Dr. Rick :

It is a piece of paper or a card with small dot in the middle of a grid of little squares. Sometimes it is a white background with black lines and sometimes it is a black background with white lines. It is called an amsler grid and is used to find/document changes in your central vision, usually due to problems with the macula. Does your doctor ever have you look at something like this, one eye at a time?

Customer:

I can see the Dot in the middle ok if thats the grid you mean.

Dr. Rick :

Good. Do you notice if any of the lines are warped, bent or missing?

Customer:

NO

Dr. Rick :

Ok. I am glad to hear that your reading vision is OK. Tell me a little bit more about these smoke like rings. Do they float around in your visual field and kinda come and go?

Customer:

It looks like smoke strings in an oval or round ball

Customer:

If I get excited it goes faster & faster

Dr. Rick :

The good news is that you are being taken care of by an expert in macular diseases. I believe I know what is going on: You are experiencing a posterior vitreous detachment.

Dr. Rick :

This is a very a common event that happens in many people.

You have a thick gel material in the middle of your eyes called the vitreous. Over time as it liquefies, this gel material collapses on itself, forms little clumps that you can see as dots, lines or bugs. As these clumps form the vitreous pulls away from the wall of the eye. In the process it can stimulate the retina -- causing the flashes that you may see.

It is recommended that you see your ophthalmologist to look at the retina to make sure there are no problems such as a retinal hole or tear. In most cases, there are no problems, but this exam is precautionary and allows for preventative treatment of any lesions that are found.

If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light (like a lightning storm), or a shadow/veil in the periphery of your vision, this can be worrisome for a retinal detachment. You would need to contact your ophthalmologist promptly in that case.


 

Dr. Rick :

It is nothing that is going to adversely affect your macular degeneration and, as long as your retina is OK, it will not cause any damage to your vision. Since it seems that you have already had an exam by your retina doc since this all started, and he didn't find anything new wrong, you should be fine.

Dr. Rick :

Now, should he have at least discussed this with you? Ya, he should have noticed that you were worried and spent a few minutes talking to you. But, hey, I guess that is why Just Answer is here :)

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

Will this go away it is having an effect on my vison as I keep turning my head to the left when it obstructs what I am looking at.

Dr. Rick :

Well, floaters don't go away, and they don't really get worse. Over time they tend to "sink" out of your central vision and you brain "filters" them out so you don't notice them so much anymore. They almost never cause significant visual problems except, of course, if they cause a secondary retinal detachment as discussed above. The only way to decrease or remove the floaters is with a major surgery called a vitrectomy. As a retinal specialist for almost 2 decades I've only done this procedure to remove floaters in a handful of cases.


 

Customer:

thank you for your help.

Dr. Rick :

My pleasure. Have a good evening.

Dr. Rick :

What can you do about the floaters? Well, floaters don't go away, and they don't really get worse. Over time they tend to "sink" out of your central vision and you brain "filters" them out so you don't notice them so much anymore. They almost never cause significant visual problems except, of course, if they cause a secondary retinal detachment as discussed above. The only way to decrease or remove the floaters is with a major surgery called a vitrectomy. As a retinal specialist for almost 2 decades I've only done this procedure to remove floaters in a handful of cases.


 

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
Let me know if there are there any other concerns or issues you would like to discuss on this topic.
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