Dark spots in vision can be annoying. They can be in the form of tiny spots, cobwebs or flecks that drift around aimlessly in your vision field. Also known as floaters, dark spots in vision are common and aren’t always a reason to panic.
What they are
The dark spots you see in your vision are often tiny pieces of vitreous that have broken loose and float around in the back part of the eye. The vitreous (which has a gel-like consistency) dissolves and liquefies as we grow older. This creates a watery center in the eye. However, some particles remain undissolved. These may float around occasionally resulting in ‘eye floaters’.
Eye floaters are particularly noticeable when you’re gazing at a computer screen, overcast sky or a light-colored background. While you may not see the actual bits that are floating around in the eye, you will notice shadows that these floating pieces cast on the retina from the light passing into the eye.
When to worry
Floaters are often nothing to worry about. However, if you also notice light flashes alongside floaters, then you should seek medical attention. These symptoms appearing suddenly could be an indication of
- Posterior vitreous detachment where the vitreous pulls away from the retina.
- Detachment of the retina from the inner lining at the back of the eye. This lining provides the retina with oxygen, blood and nutrients for its normal functioning. The tugging of the vitreous on the retina can also result in tears or the development of holes in the retina. Vitreous can penetrate these tears and result in the pushing of the retina even farther away from the inner lining at the back of the eye.
When the retina is torn, detached or tugged from the lining at the back of the eye, electrical impulses similar to those sent to the brain by the optic nerve to create an image are sent to the brain. These result in the perception of a flicker or flash of light. These may appear for a short time or indefinitely depending on the extent of damage to the retina.
Conditions related to dark spots in vision
Dark spots in vision may be the result of posterior vitreous detachments. Vitreous detachments are associated with various conditions including: