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Cotton-Wool Spots


Cotton-wool spots are tiny white areas on the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of the eye.  They are caused by a lack of blood flow to the small retinal blood vessels.  They often disappear without treatment and do not threaten vision.  However, they can be an indication of a serious medical condition.


Diabetes is the most common cause of cotton-wool spots.  The second most common cause of cotton-wool spots is hypertension (high blood pressure).  Other causes of blood vessel disease may cause cotton-wool spots.  Your eye doctor may send you to your family doctor or internist to assist in looking for a medical condition that may have caused the cotton-wool spots.


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