What is causing my eye spot?
If you have recently noticed a spot on your eye, you may be wondering where it came from - and whether or not you need to seek treatment.
Eye spots can appear in a variety of different forms - you may notice black, brown, red or yellow colours. In some cases they are harmless, while in others they may require more comprehensive treatment. This is why it is essential to make an appointment with your optometrist if you notice any changes in your eyes - and to ensure that you keep up with your regular visits to monitor your overall eye health.
What do eye spots look like?
You may have noticed a small spot on the white part of your eye.These spots can range in colour from red to brown to black, and can be caused by a variety of different issues. Generally, they are very easy to see, as they contrast with the rest of your eye. You may also notice that in certain conditions - bright light, for example - you notice a dark spot in your field of vision. This phenomenon is referred to as a 'floater' and may be visible to an optometrist using magnifying equipment, even if you cannot see it with the naked eye.
Where do eye spots come from?
Eye spots can come from a range of different sources, and while some are perfectly natural, others are a cause for concern. In the case of eye floaters, they are usually caused by changes to the vitreous - the gel-like substance found within the eye - that tend to occur with age. Spots can be seen when undissolved gel particles and other pieces of debris break loose and float within the liquid centre of your eye. The shadows they cast on your retina cause the spots you see.You may notice these spots especially in bright light, or when you look at an illuminated screen.
Visible spots on your eye can also be the result of a small burst blood vessel - known as a subconjuntival hemmorhage. This can be caused by a number of different factors, including lifting particularly heavy objects or trauma to your eye area. In some cases visible eye spots can also be indicative of other underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension or even sickle cell disease.Eye spots can also be caused when the tissue lining the outside of the eye thickens. These spots are usually yellowish in colour and are known as pingueculas. Exposure to the elements - including sun and wind - can cause a pinguecula to become inflamed.
How do I treat my eye spots?
Any changes in your eyes should be reported immediately to your optometrist, who can help you evaluate the best course of action.In some cases, your optometrist will be able to prescribe medication to treat your eye spots, or simply reassure you that they are not a cause for concern and continue to monitor them during your regular check-ups. In other cases, your optometrist may refer you to a medical doctor for further screening and treatment, or recommend surgery to correct any problems with your eyes before your vision is affected. For example, eye floaters are generally harmless, but can also be a symptom of a detached retina, which requires immediate surgical attention.Speaking to your optometrist as quickly as possible after you notice any changes to your eyes ensures they can identify the cause of your eye spots and advise the right course of treatment for you.