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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I am seeing a fine upright line in the lower left quadrant

Customer Question

I am seeing a fine upright line in the lower left quadrant of my right eye. It seems to appear when I move my eye as in reading the computer screen. At my last eye check for glasses, the doctor couldn't see anything. However, it is there and it is worrying me. Any ideas what it could be?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 5 years ago.
Doctor DanB :

Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?

Customer:

Yes

Doctor DanB :

This line that you see that tends 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.

Doctor DanB :

These floaters can sometimes be small enough that they are not seen even by the eye doctor on the exam.

Doctor DanB :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Thank you. I was concerned about retinal detachment. Appreciate the signs. I don't have any of those at this time.


Doctor DanB :

You're welcome.



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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.


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