FAQs About Eye Floaters

Eye floaters can be annoying because the small spots that drift through your field of vision can become distractions. Fortunately, these are usually benign so there’s little cause for concern unless your optometrist or ophthalmologist at Pearle Vision finds a serious underlying cause. Here are a few facts that you may want to know about this eye issue.

What Are the Signs?

Eye floaters seem to move around in your effected eye, thus, its name. Interestingly, when you focus on them, these will likely move away so you have floaters in another part of your eye. These also tend to become more pronounced when you’re looking at a bright background, such as a blue sky or a piece of white paper.

These come in different shapes, too, such as black or gray dots, threadlike strands, and squiggly lines. Many people also report floaters shaped like rings and cobwebs.

You may be able to ignore them, not to mention that these become less noticeable over time. You don’t even have to get treatment for them unless these become worse or these are caused by an underlying disease.

What Are the Causes?

The vitreous is a gel-like substance, which is located in the back of the eye, made of protein fibers. With age, the protein fibers (i.e., collagen) shrink until these are little shreds that form clumps. The small flecks of collagen cast a shadow on your retina that, in turn, become the floaters that you see.

Note: If you see small flashes in your eye along with the floaters, you should see your ophthalmologist immediately! The flashes mean that the vitreous has separated from the retina, thus, the medical treatment.

While floaters can occur in children and adults, people between 50 and 75 years old are more likely to have them. People who have undergone cataract surgery or who have nearsightedness are also more likely to have floaters.

Floaters can also be caused by serious eye disorders including a torn or detached retina, bleeding in the vitreous, eye tumors, and inflammation in the retina or vitreous from either an autoimmune condition or an infection. These may also be the result of diabetic retinopathy and crystal-like deposits in the vitreous, although these are rare.

Again, floaters are usually benign so no medical treatment is necessary. You can adopt measures to lessen their impact on your life, such as moving your eyes up and down to shift the fluid. You may also ask your doctor about vitrectomy although there are serious risks, albeit low, to the surgery.

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