Although spots on your skin are often harmless, spots in your eyes can mean trouble. If you have abnormal spots in your eyes or have noticed changes in your vision, visit your ophthalmologist right away. When it comes to your eyes, early diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between saving and losing your eyesight.
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Spots in one or both eyes may be an indication of an eye disorder such as cataracts or eye floaters. Cataracts are white, cloudy spots that form on the lens of the eye. Cataracts gradually form as the proteins on your eyes’ lenses deteriorate over time. According to MedlinePlus.com, common causes of cataracts include age, heredity, cigarette smoking, eye inflammation, eye injury and diabetes. Eye floaters are dark shadows that can surface on your retina. They form as a substance in your eye called vitreous humor that normally has a gelatinous consistency and gradually thins. This thinning of the vitreous humor causes internal fibers in your retina to congeal and cast dark shadows. According to MayoClinic.com, age is the primary cause of eye floaters.
Cataracts and eye floaters can affect your eyesight. According to MedlinePlus.com, cataracts can reduce your visual clarity, night vision and color intensity. Cataracts can also cause sensitivity to glare and double vision. Eye floaters stay in your line of sight when you move your eyes and leave your line of sight when you try to look at the dark spots directly. According to MayoClinic.com, eye floaters can make it difficult to look at an empty background such as the open sky or a bare wall.
Your ophthalmologist can confirm the presence of cataracts by conducting a slit-lamp exam to check the front of your eye, an ophthalmoscopy to check the back of your eye or a visual acuity exam to test your ability to read small letters. Your ophthalmologists can confirm the presence of eye floaters by conducting a standard eye exam, using eye drops to dilate your pupils.
If you have a mild case of cataracts, adjusting your eyeglasses prescription and using magnifiers can help increase your functionality. According to MedlinePlus.com, if cataract spots inhibit your ability to function normally, you may need to have the cataracts surgically removed. According to MayoClinic.com, ophthalmologists typically treat eye floaters by performing a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. During this procedure, your ophthalmologist inserts a hollow needle into your eye, extracts the vitreous humor substance and replaces it with a saltwater solution.
Severe cases of cataracts can result in complications. According to MayoClinic.com, cataracts can potentially leak and seep into other parts of your eye, resulting in glaucoma or inflammation. Complications associated with eye floaters -- such as retinal detachment and retinal tearing -- can cause permanent vision loss if not treated promptly. According to MayoClinic.com, if your eye floaters multiply, if you start seeing flashes of light or if your peripheral vision starts to fade, you should contact your ophthalmologist right away.