May 20, 2024

What are Roth Spots? Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment?


Roth spot is a red spot with a characteristic pale center. The white center on the spot usually represents fibrin platelet plugs. It is a hemorrhage or the blood from ruptured blood vessels. Roth spots are likely to affect your part of the eye that senses light and send signals to your brain that eventually allows you to see. On the other hand, Roth Spots are also known as Litten’s signs. Roth spots are only visible during an eye exam but they can at any stage cause blurry vision. The question whether these spots cause any eye problem depends entirely on where they are located.

There is also a similar condition called Osler Nodes which is closely linked to Roth spots. You can also learn about osler nodes to get a complete overview of the condition.

Causes of Roth Spots

Roth spots can be caused by several things. Previously, doctors used to think that Roth spots are a sign of endocarditis. Endocarditis is a condition that is commonly associated with an infection in the lining of the heart by bacteria entering the blood stream either through the mouth or gums. They used to think that the white areas seen on them is a septic embolism and thought that the white center was pus from the infection. Although this was later confirmed otherwise, a significant number of patients with endocarditis have Roth spots. Studies show that over 2 percent of all the people with endocarditis develop Roth spots.

Other causes include: 

  • Diabetes
  • Leukemia
  • Anemia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • HIV
  • Behcet’s disease
  • Preeclampsia


As I had already stated, Roth spots are diagnosed during an eye exam. When you visit the doctor, he or she will start by dilating your pupils with eye drops before looking at your eye using below methods.

  • Slit Lamp Exam – In this case, the doctor will use a slim lamp to check your eyes. A slit lamp is a magnifying instrument with a very bright light. This light gives the doctor a better view of the inside of the eye.

  • Funduscopy – The doctor may as well use a Funduscopy to look at the fundus of your eye. Funduscopy is a lightened scope with attached lens. The fundus includes the retina and the blood vessels.

Although all the methods used to diagnose this condition don’t have any side effects, the drops that the doctor uses to dilate your pupils can cause blurred vision. Based on what the doctor will find out during the diagnosis, he or she may recommend appropriate treatment methods.

Treating Roth spots

The fact is that there’s no one method of treating this conditions. The doctor has to carry out a comprehensive testing and diagnosis process to determine the root cause. Once the underlying cause is established, the doctor will be able to prescribe several medications.

However, you should note that Roth spots may go away immediately after the underlying problem is treated.

Although Roth spots were initially linked to some of the most dangerous heart infections, today more causes are established.

After the doctor finds out that you have Roth spots, he or she may order more tests to determine the root cause and later structure an appropriate treatment method.

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