How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Rick Your Own Question
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11232
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
48069651
Type Your Eye Question Here...
Dr. Rick is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have squiggly black lines swishing around in my right eye,

Customer Question

I have squiggly black lines swishing around in my right eye, this has never happened before... it does not hurt but it is very bothersome and making me panic... I read that it may be eye floaters... is there anything I can do to make them go away... can I wait to go see my eye doctor tomorrow or is this an urgent symptom?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

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

Dr. Rick :

I am a retina surgeon and deal with this issue all the time. Let me tell you what is going on.....

Dr. Rick :

You are likely experiencing a PVD or posterior vitreous detachment, 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 :

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.

Dr. Rick :

Here is a video of the actual surgery to remove floaters:

http://www.retinavitreous.com/video%20files/intro_floaters.html

Dr. Rick :

I actually did a the surgery to remove floaters yesterday for a patient but, as I said above, this is not something that I do very often.

Dr. Rick :

As long as you don't have any of the symptoms of a retinal detachment that I discusses above, this is not an ocular emergency and you can safely see your ophthalmologist in the next few days or so.

Dr. Rick :

Does this answer your question to your satisfaction?

Dr. Rick :

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick

Dr. Rick :

We have been experiencing problems with the chat system for the last few days. Our engineers are working on it. However, I'll switch over to the Q&A system. This system works a lot like 'text messaging' but an email is sent to each of us anytime something is posted to this thread. We can continue to work on your question there..... :)

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 4 years ago.
We have been experiencing technical difficulties with the chat system. Please allow me to retype my chat here for your review:


Dr. Rick : Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Dr. Rick : I am a retina surgeon and deal with this issue all the time. Let me tell you what is going on.....
Dr. Rick : You are likely experiencing a PVD or posterior vitreous detachment, 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 : 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.
Dr. Rick :
Here is a video of the actual surgery to remove floaters:
http://www.retinavitreous.com/video%20files/intro_floaters.html
Dr. Rick : I actually did a the surgery to remove floaters yesterday for a patient but, as I said above, this is not something that I do very often.
Dr. Rick : As long as you don't have any of the symptoms of a retinal detachment that I discusses above, this is not an ocular emergency and you can safely see your ophthalmologist in the next few days or so.
Dr. Rick : Does this answer your question to your satisfaction?
Dr. Rick : I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick