Ask The Experts

Seeing black dots after having cataract surgery

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Q I am a 60-year-old man. About three weeks ago, I had cataract surgery in my right eye.

Although the operation went well, I am seeing numerous floaters - about 20 black dots, with the biggest about 1mm in diameter. This is very evident when I am looking at something bright with my right eye. The dots move in unison, as if there are many flies in front of my face. I was told by the eye doctor to monitor my condition and report back one month later.

Is there any technique that can flush out these suspended foreign substances in the vitreous gel of my affected eye?

I did not have any noticeable floaters before surgery.

A Floaters usually result from the normal ageing process. They are caused when the vitreous fluid in the back of the eye degenerates. But they are usually not cause for worry.

Some patients may experience seeing floaters or small black dots after cataract surgery.

This condition is known as posterior vitreous detachment, where the vitreous jelly in the retina becomes more fluid. Floaters are then caused by tiny clumps of gel that fills the inside cavity of the eye.

The floaters appear to be in front of the eye but they are actually floating in the vitreous fluid inside the eye. They form shadows on the retina, which is the light- sensing inner layer of the eye.

Floaters after cataract surgery tend to subside gradually, over several months. But a consultation with your eye doctor is recommended to rule out the possibility of a retina tear or detachment, which can be related to a sudden onset of floaters.

ADJUNCT ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LEE SHU YEN
Senior consultant and deputy head of the surgical retina department at the Singapore National Eye Centre's Retina Centre

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'Seeing black dots after having cataract surgery'. Print Edition | Subscribe