MYODESOPSIAS OR EYE FLOATERS

Vitreous opacities

What are myodesopsias?

Myodesopsias, commonly known as “eye floaters”, are an ocular defect with the appearance of spots or shadows of varying shapes on the field of vision. These shapes are particularly noticeable when looking at well-lit, light-coloured areas (clear sky, white pages, etc.) and appear as a result of opacities appearing on the vitreous humour, which project a shadow onto the retina when light passes over.

Seven out of every 10 people experience eye floaters at some stage of their life.

Dr García-Esparza | Ophthalmologist

In most cases, the appearance of eye floaters is the natural consequence of the aging process in the eyes, with water loss and a reduction in the volume of the vitreous humour. Even though it may feel like these shapes are on the front of the eye, the reality is that they float inside it and what we see is no more than their shadow.

CAUSES EYE FLOATERS

Age and high myopia are most commonly associated with the appearance of eye floaters (which does not mean that they do not occur in young people and even in children).

AGE

There is a natural aging process in some structures of the eye, such as the lens and the vitreous, which can result in posterior vitreous detachment.

HIGH MYOPIA

For those with high myopia, where the eyeball is longer, the process of vitreous detachment is more common and premature and there is an increased risk of experiencing certain retinal conditions.

Eye floaters are also linked to diabetes as this affects the vitreous and the retina, in the same way as any disorder that has a direct or indirect impact on these structures.

RELATED PROBLEMS

Eye floaters are usually normal and innocuous and do not compromise vision. However, they can be much more than a small defect on the vitreous humour because if they are very dense, they can cause blurred vision, and to a lesser degree, they can be linked to eye disorders such as uveitis, vitreous haemorrhage or retinal detachment.

What should I do if eye floaters appear?

Check with your ophthalmologist if floaters appear suddenly, if they are linked to flashing lights (photopsia) or if they suddenly remain still or they change significantly in terms of size or shape. In this case, an examination of the back of the eye will be performed to examine the status of the retina and to rule out any disease or serious lesion.

TREATMENTS FOR EYE FLOATERS

In cases where there are not many opacities and they are small in size, patients generally get used to them after a few months and no treatment is required. For cases where myodesopsias are limiting vision, the following options are available:

Laser vitreolysis

Vitreolysis is a YAG laser treatment for eye floaters. With this treatment, the floaters are targeted by the surgical laser which emits dozens of pulses on each opacity. The opacities are broken up and do not significantly change the patient’s vision. It is worth stressing that the aim of this treatment is to attain functional improvement so that the patient can carry on with their day-to-day lives without incapacitating floaters.

Vitrectomy

A vitrectomy is a type of eye surgery in which the vitreous humour inside the eye (where the opacities or floaters are) is replaced with a sterile saline solution. It is an invasive procedure that is not risk-free and is only used to treat floaters as a last resort in cases of visual impairment.

Enzymatic vitreolysis

This procedure involves the intravitreal injection of a medication that induces liquefaction of the vitreous humour. Using this treatment before a vitrectomy can facilitate the surgery and in some cases it has been used exclusively as a treatment for floaters.

Our first recommendation is that you try to ignore the floaters, even though this is difficult.

Dr Rahhal | Ophthalmologist

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“I have been going to Rahhal for many years with my entire family because of the quality of the service and the family atmosphere that the whole team provides”.

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“Besides his professionalism, you can see that Dr Rahhal enjoys his work and is happy doing it. I went to him for an initial consultation and have never since wanted to go to any other clinic. I am truly delighted”.

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“I have been a patient for some time and I am delighted with them. The staff are attentive and very professional, and the facilities are excellent. I recommend it!”

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FAQs

Select one of the following frequently-asked questions from our patients to display the answer. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us using the form below.

Is it normal to see floaters or a kind of spider’s web?

Everyone, at one stage of life or another, will see a small shadow that is more or less translucid, especially on light-coloured and bright surfaces. This is linked to the natural aging process of the vitreous, the gel inside the eyeball. What we are seeing is no more than shadows of the fibres of which it consists.

Once they appear, do they stay forever?

In most cases, we only see the eye floaters at certain times as the vitreous is a mobile gel. As such, these eye floaters change position and will be more or less visible depending on the light. A process of neuroadaptation also occurs, in which we get used to these to a greater or lesser degree.

What should I do if they appear suddenly?

Even though they are generally physiological, linked to the degeneration of the vitreous gel inside the eyeball, in some cases they can be a result of a disorder. As such, when floaters appear suddenly, especially if they are linked to other symptoms such as photopsia (flashing lights) or reddening of the eye, an assessment with an ophthalmologist is essential.

Do they always indicate some kind of disorder?

No. Only in some cases might they be a sign of a disorder such as a tear in the retina or an intraocular inflammatory process. However, it is worth stressing that in most cases, they are the result of the natural aging process of the vitreous gel.

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