Myodesopsia or eye floaters

Vitreous Debris

What are myodesopsia?

Myodesopsia, also known as eye floaters, are an ocular disorder which cause spots and different-shaped specks to appear in the visual field.

These spots are especially evident when looking at a plain bright background (sky, white paper, etc) and appear due to the small shadows vitreous opacities cast on the retina when light passes through them.

Myodesopsia or eye floaters
Simulation of myodesopsia in the visual field.

In most cases, myodesopsia are a consequence of a natural aging process due to the vitreous humor’s loss of water and volume. Although the floaters seem to be in front of your eye, they are actually moving inside it, and what we perceive is their shadows.

7 out of 10 people suffer from myodesopsia at some point in their life.

Dr. Luis Alonso | Ophthalmologist

Floaters causes

Most eye floaters appear due to age-related changes and high myopia (although this does not mean that they cannot occur in young people and even in children).

These changes include crystalline lens natural aging and in some cases, vitreous detachment which makes the Weiss ring that connects the vitreous humor to the optic nerve, become a visible floater.

Patients with high myopia have longer and bigger eyeballs causing vitreous detachment to appear more frequently and also earlier, increasing the risk of suffering certain retinal disorders.

Weiss ring
Weiss Ring retinography.

Myodesopsia are also related to diabetes as it affects the vitreous humor and the retina, just as they are to any other disorder which directly or indirectly affects these structures.


Related issues

Myodesopsia are usually innocuous and harmless and do not affect vision. However, in some situations, eye floaters can be much more than just small vitreous disturbances as if they are very dense they can cause blurred vision, and in some cases, they may be related to ocular pathologies such as uveitis, vitreous hemorrage or retinal detachment.

Contact an ophthalmologist promptly if you notice a sudden increase of floaters, if flashes of light (photopsia) appear, if they stop moving when you move your eyes or significantly change size. Fundus eye examination will be carried out in order to examine the retina and determine whether any serious pathology exists.




Floaters treatment

In the cases where the amount and size of the floaters is very small, patients tend to get used to them within a few months, so no treatment is required. In the cases where myodesopsia limit the patient’s vision, the following treatments are available:

Laser Vitreolysis

Vitreolysis is a YAG laser based treatment to remove myodesopsia. Floaters are the laser’s target, which uses tens of pulses to destroy them. Microfragmentation of the vitreous opacities will avoid them from significantly affecting the patient's vision. This treatment’s goal is to achieve a visual functional improvement, allowing the patient to carry out his day-to-day activities.

Vitrectomy

Vitrectomy is an eye surgery in which the vitreous humor inside the eye (where the opacities or myodesopsia are found) is replaced by a sterile saline solution. It is an invasive procedure which is not free of risks, being therefore considered as the last treatment option in severe vision loss cases.

Pharmacologic Vitreolysis

This procedure involves the use of intravitreal drugs which have a liquefying effect on the vitreous humor. It can be used before vitrectomy surgery in order to simplify it and in some cases it has been exclusively used as a treatment for myodesopsia.

Our first recommendation is always to ignore myodesopsia, even if it is complicated.

Dr. Fernanda García | Ophthalmologist

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