Myodesopsias: Floating Spots That Obstruct Vision

These “floaters” or fuzzy spots that affect vision originate in the eye.


Myodesopsias are small spots that appear in the vitreous humor of the eye, whose appearance is similar to that of a fly. Although they cause some difficulties in vision, they are usually harmless, however, they can sometimes indicate the presence of an ocular pathology.

They are one of the most recurrent reasons for ophthalmological medical consultation, although they are not usually dangerous. In this article we will see an explanation about what myodesopsias are, what are the main causes and the most common treatments.

The ocular system of humans

Our eyes are made up of a very complex ocular system made up of an outer layer, a middle layer and an inner layer of cells, tissues and nerve terminals responsible for carrying electrical signals to our brain.

In turn, each layer is made up of other segments that have specific functions. The inner layer, for example, is made up of three distinct chambers or sections; an anterior chamber between the cornea and the iris, a posterior chamber between the iris, the ciliary body and the lens; and a glass chamber, between Christianity and the retina.

It is in the latter where there is a colorless gelatinous mass that we call the vitreous humor or vitreous body, which has a protective and cushioning function with which it is possible to maintain the shape of the eye and its internal pressure.

What are myodesopsias?

Myodesopsias are an ocular alteration that causes spots, points or threads of different size and consistency within the vitreous humor of the eye, that is, in the gelatinous mass that is between the lens and the retina.

In formal terms, myodesopsias are defined as an entópic phenomenon (that is, that originates and manifests inside the eye), caused by some defects in the vitreous gel that reflect, absorb or scatter light, thereby interfering with its passage.

On the other hand, and in more colloquial words, myodesopsias are known as “floating eyes” or “floaters” because they have the shape of a spider web, fluff or a small point, usually black or gray, that moves and floats inside the eye.

For this reason, some investigations recognize cell-type myodesopsia or filament-type myodesopsia. Although they can obstruct vision, and are one of the most common reasons for ophthalmological consultation, myodesopsias are not particularly harmful.

They occur more frequently during aging due to important changes in the cellular composition of the vitreous humor caused by the natural passage of time.

However, if the number of myodesopsia increases suddenly and is accompanied by flashes of light, they could indicate the presence of a more serious pathology (such as a retinal detachment), so in any of these cases it is important to immediately consult a specialist.

Main causes

Myodesopsias are the result of the accumulation of cellular debris in the vitreous humor, that is, they are mainly caused by changes in the cells that produce the gelatinous substance of the vitreous humor inside the eyes.

During aging, this substance becomes more liquid, so that the fibers and ocular cells easily clump together, generating spots or shadows on the retina that at first glance look like small flies.

On other occasions, the presence of myodesopsias can be an indicator that the eyes are inflamed or injured, so they can be accompanied by internal bleeding that in the worst case causes loss of vision.

Likewise, they can appear as a consequence of a detachment of the posterior vitreous, or because of ocular trauma, surgical interventions in the eye, or as one of the effects of myopia.

Most frequent treatments

Floaters usually disappear on their own after a few weeks, without causing significant discomfort. That is, they do not require special treatment and there is no definitive medical treatment.

However, and since they occur more frequently during aging, which in turn increases the likelihood of retinal detachment, it is advisable to go to the ophthalmologist whenever there is a sudden increase in the size of the spot, a peripheral shadow in the visual field or a sudden decrease in vision.

From there, the treatments recommended by the specialist will be those appropriate to the pathology detected, which may include a vitrectomy (surgery to remove the vitreous humor to replace it with a saline solution). In the meantime, it is recommended not to chase the spots with your eyes, as this can impair the quality of vision.

Bibliographic references:

  • Myodesopsias (2018). What are myodesopsias? Retrieved March 4, 2018.Available at
  • Castilla, M., Borja, C. & García-Arumí, J. (2016). Impact of myodesopsia on visual quality. Doctoral Thesis, Autonomous University of Barcelona.
  • Castillo Ophthalmology Clinic. (2013). Floating spots or flies. Retrieved March 4, 2018.Available at
  • Puel, C. (S / A). Physiological optics. The optical system of the eye and binocular vision. Complutense University of Madrid [Electronic Version]. Retrieved March 4, 2018.Available atÓptica_Fisiológica.pdf

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