Hello and thanks for your question. Do these spots and lines move as your eyes move and then settle back into the same position? Do you have flashing or arcing lights in your vision?
Your spots that are new and that tend to follow your eye movements, floating behind and then catching up to the same position they occupied before then your symptoms sound consistent with what are called vitreous floaters. These floating spots or "bugs" or cobwebs (they can come in many shapes and sizes) as some people call them, 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. 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. It is this traction of the vitreous jelly on the retina that can produce flashes that you may see. These flashes tend to be small, like starbursts and are usually intermittent; they can also appear as an arcing light. One of the most important things to understand about floaters is that the process of a new floater happening can rarely lead to a retinal detachment, so it is important to know the 4 signs of a possible retinal detachment. These are: 1. sudden increase in or new floaters, 2. flashing or arcing lights that are persistent and not going away, 3. a shade/shadow/spot in your vision that you can't see light through, or 4. 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.
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Thank you Dr. DanB,
Are these floaters permanent, or can they be removed?
You're welcome. The floaters are likely permanent in some way. They usually get better in one or more of three different ways: 1. they can break up over time and become less noticeable; 2. they can drift out of your view; and 3. The brain can learn how to ignore them, but they usually never completely go away. Does that make sense?
They can be removed, but it is major surgery and is usually only done when the floaters are causing a significant difficulty doing your activities of daily life.
Yes it does. I just wonder, there is no special treatment for these?
No, unfortunately there is no special treatment for these, but they usually get better over the next few weeks. The only treatment that exists is surgery.
Dr. DanB, I have had these for a few years now. I am presently studying online and now suddenly I find them disturbing. I guess I will have to go with your option 3: have the brain learn to ignore them.
No sir, you were very clear.
I thank you so much.
One last question, are these floaters hereditary?
Thank you Dr. DanB. I will press the accept button