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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11357
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Since july 2010 I have had floaters in my field of vision.

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Since july 2010 I have had floaters in my field of vision. They appeared suddenly, and range from annoying to barely perceptible, but do not impair my vision. They are visual spots or lines which appear more when I move my eye rapidly, and against a very bright background like snow. I had cut my hand on a mercury containing light immediately prior to this, and never had any floaters previously. I have had my heavy metal concentrations checked, and mercury is low, aluminum, cadmium and lead are moderately elevated <%120 ULN. I also have had a slight whitish discharge from the outer corner of my eye. I was taking some supplements, but haver stopped all of them because of concern of contamination, as I felt unwell. I would characterize as poisoned (ringing in ears, muscle and joint pain- especially the knuckle closest to the cut, and prostate or testicular pain. I have regular blood work done and it is unremarkable, except for elevated alt (hep c+)from 1- 2x ULN, around 70 (reference 20-65). I am slowly feeling better, with most of the other unwell feeling improving or resolved, but the visual defects are persistent.
Dr. Rick :

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

Dr. Rick :

are you available to chat?

Dr. Rick :

The floaters in your vision are not related to any type of poison or heavy metal problems....although your work up is impressive.

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 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 :

A PVD is something that a GP would be unable so diagnose as it takes special training and equipment.

Dr. Rick :

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
This sounds very reasonable, but why the sudden onset?
That is the way these things start....the vitreous jelly gets to a point where it has fluid pockets in it and the pockets collapse together with the protein clumps in them and, wa-la, you have floaters.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am also worried about thre slight white discharge from the outer corner of the eye, that varies from barely perceptible to like a tear from the outside of the eye. I will book an opthamologist appt. My mother has just had a sudden onset of massive floaters with white flashes which she saw an expert for, and is on her way to vancouver for emergency surgery with gas injected into the eye
Sounds like you mother has a retinal detachment. Your white discharge might be from blepharitis. The best treatment for this condition daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on you eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.
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