So you’ve started seeing black spots floating around in your vision. This is a common occurrence with many people as our eyes start to age. If you’ve started seeing black spots suddenly and frequently it would be a good idea to check in with your doctor as this can be a sign of a larger problem with your eye, possibly a retinal tear.

What is Behind Those Spots?

Usually, these floating black spots are caused by the degeneration of part of your eye called the “vitreous humour” which makes up the biggest portion of your eye and has a jelly like consistency. As we age, usually starting in the mid 40s, the vitreous begins to slowly break down which causes black spots in our vision. This process is natural and part of aging, however it is always a good idea to mention this to your doctor and have an ophthalmologist examine your eyes for larger problems.

Your Eye
Credit: Wikipedia

Other Causes

  It is common to see spots after looking at a bright light, after keeping your eyes closed for a long period such as after sleep, after rubbing your eyes, looking at a tv or computer too long or standing up quickly after sitting or bending down. In most cases these floaters will not last more than a minute and should dissipate. If you suffer from migraines you may also be experiencing spots floating in from of you from time to time, often before a migraine strikes. This is often not due to floaters in the eye but due to the migraine.

Vision Problems Associated with Migraines

Examples of Vision Loss Caused by Migraines
Credit: Wikipedia

Test Yourself

You can check to see whether or not you are experiencing floaters caused by this degeneration of the vitreous or if they are caused by some other factor, such as bright lights, by performing this test. Try looking at a solid, blank surface like a piece of paper or a wall. Look in one direction, moving your eyes slowly and see if the spots follow your vision. Then quickly look the other way and make the same observation. If the spots are moving as your eyes move then it is likely that you have floaters.


If you do have a retinal tear this can be quite a serious issue and seeing black spots frequently and suddenly are your early warning sign to check with your doctor. The treatment for this condition is usually laser surgery which seals that tear and sets your eye back to the correct orientation in your eye socket. Even if you don’t have a retinal tear these eye floaters causing you to see black spots can be very frustrating if they won’t go away. Unfortunately these eye floaters are not generally considered a health risk by doctors unless accompanied by a retinal tear or other issue and will go untreated, however there are ways to deal with seeing spots when your doctor has not found a medical issue.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

Pay attention to how your eyes feel and do your best to keep them in good health. If you have allergies which give you puffy eyes try to avoid rubbing them as much as you can and consider using eye drops to keep them lubricated and taking an antihistamine.

It is important to keep your eyes healthy, especially as we get older. Remember to check with your doctor if you have any questions about seeing black spots or your eye health.