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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7959
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Two days ago I saw black floating spots in my right eye. Then

Customer Question

Two days ago I saw black floating spots in my right eye. Then yesterday I saw flashing lights like a car with headlights going by at night. Today I have what seems to be a thin film over that eye. At first I thought I had dirty glasses and cleaned them, it wasn't that. I tried to rinse my eye, but it is still there.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm Dr. Rick and I have two decades of ophthalmology experience. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Are you available to chat?

Dr. Rick :

I am a retina surgeon and your issue is right up my alley......

Dr. Rick :

I see that you are offline. I will switch to Q&A format. This format 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 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
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.

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.

Here is a video of the actual surgery to remove floaters:
http://www.retinavitreous.com/video%20files/intro_floaters.html


In January 2013 a new drug, called Ocriplasmin, was approved by the FDA to dissolve vitreous strands in a particular eye condition called vitreomacular traction. Perhaps someday this drug could be used to also remove floaters…. Only time will tell.

ONE OTHER THING I WANT TO MENTION:

I am concerned about this thin film you are having over your vision right now. This might be a sign that your retina detaching, as I reviewed above.

I feel very strongly that you should have a complete, dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist TONIGHT. The sooner the better.

I would contact your local ER and ask if they have an ophthalmologist who can meet you at the ER for a complete eye exam for a possible retinal detachment in progress. If they don't have one, ask where you can call or go to see an eye MD ASAP.

Does this make sense to you?

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. You may also receive an email survey after our chat, if you don’t feel that I have earned a “10” rating in all areas, please let me know what I can do to meet your expectations.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your answer, I was worried. I do not have an eye specialist as I have just moved to the area. But I will check with my neighbors and make an appointment. Can it wait till Monday? The film I described is like when you wake up in the morning and you have to clean the sand and stuff out of your eyes, but this doesn't go away. I can see fine, just not as clear.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
No. Since that film will not go away this, unfortunately, can not wait.

I think your retina is detaching. If it continues, which it will without treatment, once it gets to an area of your retina called the macula, you will loose your ability to read, drive, recognize faces etc.

In my practice as a retina surgeon I do not have many emergencies that I let get me out of bed in the middle of the night....but a macula-on retinal detachment (which you might now have) is one that gets me to the hospital every time.

I do not want to scare you....only to impress upon you the urgency of what is --possibly -- going on right now with your eye.

Make sense to you?


It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you, but, as I do work for tips, I want to make sure you are happy before rating me.

Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7959
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Her in Connecticut it is almost 10:00pm, I will go to the doctor in the morning. OK?

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
You mentioned that you can see, but not as clearly.

I think the edge of your macula is starting to rip off as we speak.

I have been a retina surgeon for over two decades and I think you have about a 85% chance of waking up unable to see a big clock on your wall 5 feet away in the morning if you wait.

I could be wrong and you might be wasting your time trying to see an eye surgeon in at 10pm.

Do me favor: Call the ophthalmology department at Yale Medical school and see if they think I am being overly dramatic. Tell them you talked to a retina specialist. If the don't agree with me, then go to bed and take care of this later.

Here is their number. There are eye doctors in training on call to speak to you right now.

http://www.eyes.yale.edu/directions.aspx

Do we have a deal?


It's safe for you to press the positive feedback button now if you so desire. And, never fear, even after you press that button I don't go up in a puff of smoke -- I'll still be right here to continue helping you, but, as I do work for tips, I want to make sure you are happy before rating me.

Dr. Rick MD FACS
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7959
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
So. What did the on-call Yale eye doc say?

And, as an aside, thank you for the bonus....

Let me know how things go....
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 1 year ago.
Hi Trudy,

I just finished repairing two retinal detachments this morning and my thoughts turned toward you.

What did the ophthalmologist find on exam Friday? I hope everything is OK are you are doing better.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you in the future.

Dr. Rick

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