What do black dots on the iris mean?

Mouches volantes - the vitreous cloudiness in the eye

What is vitreous opacity?

The vitreous is the jelly-like mass that occupies most of the eye. It consists to a small extent of hyaluronic acid and collagen fibers, for the most part of water. The collagen fibers form the framework that maintains the shape of the vitreous body. They are still regularly arranged in childhood and adolescence.

However, with increasing age, the vitreous body shrinks more and more. As a result, the collagen fibers lose their structure: They clump together and form longer, fibrous patterns. Over time, the vitreous humor loses contact with the retina. The collagen fibers then cast shadows on the retina, which you perceive as black dots in front of the eye - flying mosquitoes (Mouches volantes).

Is vitreous opacity dangerous?

Vitreous opacity is not dangerous and always painless. Almost everyone has the experience of floaters in the course of their lives. The reason for this lies in the natural aging process of the eyes. Black dots, threads or fluff are therefore initially nothing to worry about.

However, the first time you notice vitreous opacity in the eye, you should see an ophthalmologist to rule out other eye disorders. This is especially true if the eye floaters suddenly appear in swarms. This phenomenon can be a sign of retinal detachment, which is a medical emergency and needs treatment as soon as possible. The same applies if you see flashes of light or curtain-like blackouts.

Vitreous opacity - treatment not necessary

There is no treatment for the floaters. Since the cause of the vitreous opacity is the normal aging process, the symptoms are on the one hand very difficult to treat and on the other hand they subside again over time - namely when the distance between the retina and the shrinking vitreous humor has become so large that the shadows appear no more sharp thread patterns.

Surgical treatment is only an option as a treatment for vitreous opacity if the eyesight is severely impaired. However, this is an absolute exception.