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Vision problems are of concern to us, but in most cases they are not dangerous or urgent. However, this is not the case with retinal problems, because they can cause real damage and even lead to blindness.
Dr. Avi Ohayon, Senior Retinal and Cataract Surgeon at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital), explained what can threaten our vision and how to recognize it in time.
The eye consists of an anterior part, which includes the cornea and iris (our eye color), and a posterior part, which contains the vitreous body (the gel-like substance that fills the eye cavity) and the retina. The job of the retina is to receive light rays from the outside world and convert them into an image that goes directly to the brain.
When we see black spots, sometimes called “flies” or spider webs, it is mainly the result of changes in the vitreous that usually occur over the age of 50 but also occur in young people with severe myopia.
Ohayon explained that when there is a problem with the retina, we cannot see it in the mirror, but we can definitely feel it.
One of the significant symptoms is one or more black spots or “flies” moving into the line of sight. Many people have black spots, but in most cases the brain learns to ignore them over time. However, there are times when the spots are thicker, larger, or right in the center of the field of view. In this case, the patients complain about the drastic disruption of their daily life and ask them to “remove” them.
The way to remove these “flies” — surgery on the retina (vitrectomy) and cleaning the vitreous cavity from floating opacities. The operation is performed under local anesthesia and is completely painless. Recovery is very easy: the eye is covered with a bandage for 24 hours, then treated with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops. Vision may be blurry for the first week, but then it improves.
Biggest danger: retinal detachment
Unlike black spots, which can happen to anyone and are not usually a cause for concern, in some cases, these spots can indicate a serious problem in the retina, which can even threaten our vision with blindness.
One of the biggest dangers is a retinal tear, which can cause retinal detachment. In this case, time is of the essence and help should be sought immediately.
The first serious symptom — sudden loss of vision in one eye.
Black spots or bright flashes in the eye can be a sign that urgent treatment is needed. Detachment can lead to retinal hemorrhage, which also causes a sharp deterioration in vision and requires surgery .
The main risk factors are age and high myopia.
“The general recommendation is that every person over 40 should have an eye exam once a year, and people with myopia — even more often", — said the doctor.
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