Hi Doctor Guthrie…
Sometimes I feel like I see a fly out of the corner of my eye. It’s like these little black spots. They seem to stay in the same place. It’s weird because I only see them in certain lighting.
Should I get an ophthalmology exam?
Floaters as they are commonly called are not unusual as we age. The “gelatinlike” matrix in our eyes(vitreous humor) occasionally collapses or gets some blood stuck in it causing us to see hadows seemingly dance before our eyes. Much of the time these floaters are not ominous. Occasionally the sudden onset of floaters(sometimes perceived as a spiderweb) and at times accompanied by a flash of light may indicate a retinal tear or retinal detachment. It’s impossible to know if a person is having a benign floater or a more serious retinal problem without a thorough eye exam which includes dilation. Dilation of the pupil allows for a panoramic view of the retina. I have a good analogy that I tell my patients to help them understand why it is necessary to be dilated; it is the difference between looking into a room through a keyhole vs opening the door and stepping in and really seeing all the walls of the room. The most important message is that annual ophthalmology exams are very important. Someone with long term floaters should absolutely have a comprehensive eye exam with dilation. Remember to bring your sunglasses and try to bring another driver with you as you will be a bit blurry for up to six hours. I stress to my patients all the time how important it is to take care
of your eyes and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Please email questions to email@example.com
Debra S. Guthrie, MD“Eye Care to the People”
Medical & Surgical Ophthalmology
185 Madison Ave., Second Floor, New York, NY 10016
212-685-2600 (v)212-685-0002 (f)