It has already been explained that black spots floating in front of the vision are commonplace but often called to our attention by anxious patients. When the spots are large and appear suddenly, they can be of pathological significance. For some reason, patients often refer to them as tadpoles or frogspawn, or even a spider's web. It is the combination of these symptoms with flashing lights that makes it important.
Flashes and floaters appear because the vitreous has tugged on the retina, producing the sensation of light, and often when the tear appears there is a slight bleeding into the vitreous, causing the black spots. When clear-cut symptoms of this kind appear, they must not be overlooked. The eyes must be examined fully until the tear in the retina is found. Sometimes, a small tear in the retina is accompanied by a large vitreous haemorrhage and thus sudden loss of vision.
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