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What are Shadows or Dull Areas in the Vision?

Shadows or dull areas in your vision are small spots that drift around aimlessly in your field of vision casting slight shadows on your retina. The shadows that you experience are known as eye floaters. They are made up of the vitreous, a clear gel-like material that fills most of the eye. The floaters may appear to you as grey or black specks, strings, or cobwebs that drift about when your eye and the vitreous gel inside the eye moves.

Causes of Shadows or Dull Areas in the Vision

The most common cause of eye floaters is age-related changes and is normally found in individuals aged 50 and above.

As you age, the vitreous or jelly-like substance filling your eyeballs begins to liquefy, crowding the inside of the eyeball with deposits and debris. As the vitreous shrinks and sags, it begins to clump together. This debris obstructs some of the light travelling through the eye casting tiny shadows on your retina, causing eye floaters.

Floaters may also occur as a result of less common causes, such as:

  • Eye infection or inflammation
  • Eye trauma or injury
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Torn or detached retina
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Eye medications and eye surgeries
  • Near-sightedness

Symptoms of Shadows or Dull Areas in the Vision

Some of the common symptoms of eye floaters include:

  • Shadowy specks or dots
  • Cobweb shapes
  • Rings
  • Small lines
  • Other irregular shapes

When Should You See a Doctor for Shadows or Dull Areas in the Vision?

You need to seek immediate medical attention from your doctor if you notice:

  • A sudden outbreak of new floaters
  • More than usual eye floaters
  • Blurred vision or loss of side vision
  • Appearance of flashes of light
  • Eye pain

Diagnosis of Shadows or Dull Areas in the Vision

In order to diagnose eye floaters, your doctor will carry out a thorough eye examination including dilation of the eyes to better visualize the posterior part of your eyes as well as the vitreous humour to establish the cause of the floaters.

Treatment for Shadows or Dull Areas in the Vision

Most eye floaters do not require any kind of treatment. If you experience temporary obstruction of vision due to floaters, just roll your eyes from side to side and up and down to move the obstructing debris. However, if the floaters are a result of an underlying condition such as inflammation, bleeding, or diabetes, then the condition needs to be treated accordingly.

In rare cases, eye floaters may also cause vision impairment. To treat this, your doctor may consider other treatment options, such as:

  • Surgical removal of the vitreous: During the surgery, your ophthalmologist will perform a vitrectomy, surgical removal of all or some of the vitreous humour from the eye, through a small incision and replace the vitreous with a solution to assist your eye to preserve its shape.
  • Use of laser to shatter the floaters: During this method, your ophthalmologist will employ a special laser to break up the floaters in the vitreous to make the floaters less noticeable.
Eye Specialists

54 Hughes St
Cabramatta, NSW 2166


  • the university of sydney
  • the royal australian and new zealand college orthopaedic
  • UNSW
  • South Western Eye Care