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Myodesopsia (also spelled as myiodeopsia, myiodesopsia, and myodeopsia) is the medical term for describing the perception of eye floaters. These are particles of various sizes and shapes that occur the eye's vitreous humor, the solution that maintains the eyeball's shape. In medical literature, eye floaters are sometimes referred to as muscae volitantes or mouches volantes.
Myodesopsia is fairly common, and is more prevalent in older adults. This is because with advancing age, the vitreous humor (which is perfectly transparent during youth), starts losing its shape, fluidity and clarity. Proteins may aggregate together, and cellular debris may accumulate. This gives rise to myodesopsia, and people describe their symptoms as dots, lines or specks of dust in their field of vision. The perception of eye floaters is stronger when looking at bright lights.
The causes of myodesopsia are many, but probably the most common is a natural change in the consistency and shape of the vitreous humor that occurs with age. As the consistency changes, the proteins may precipitate out of solution, thereby becoming visible to the person. In addition, as the vitreous humour loses it s shape, it may detach itself from the posterior part of the eye. During detachment, impulses from the retina may cause the person to see flashes of light, formally referred to as photopsia. The vitreous humour's posterior detachment may also cause part of the retina to be torn (uncommon), causing blood to leak into the vitreous and the person will see a sudden appearance of dark dots. Myodesopsia can also occur as a side effect of certain medications (such as drugs used to treat ocular herpes) and as a complication of eye infections.
People who develop myodesopsia should consult with a doctor or an ophthalmologist. This is mainly to ensure that the perception of eye floaters is not due to a serious underlying condition such as a retinal tear (which can lead to blindness if untreated).
Unfortunately there is no medication that can treat eye floaters and the only medical option is surgery. This can be of two types: laser vitreolysis and vitrectomy. Laser vitreolysis uses an ophthalmic laser (known as a YAG laser) to break up each individual floater. However, this procedure can be risky, is not always effective, and is performed only by a few specialists. On the other hand, vitrectomy involves draining off the vitreous humor (and the floaters in it) and substituting it with a saline solution. This procedure is generally successful but complications can occur. These include retinal detachment, cataracts, and optic nerve damage.
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