Seeing something in your field-of-vision that you’re sure isn’t supposed to be there, well… that can be concerning! The little specks that you see “floating” around in your view are called just that- floaters.
Most floaters are absolutely nothing to worry about, but there are certain instances when they might point to underlying health issues.
Keep reading to learn more about floaters in your eye: what they are, what causes them and when to see a doctor about your unwanted friends.
Eye floaters are the little spots or specks that appear in your vision.
Their appearances may vary from person to person; they might look black or gray, they might take the shape of little specks, circles, strings, cobwebs or other irregular shapes- and they usually drift about when you move your eyes or dart away when you attempt to look at them directly.
Most floaters in your eyes are caused by age-related changes that occur when the vitreous (the jelly-like substance that fills your eye) changes shape, and becomes more liquid- due to the aging process.
In this process, microscopic fibers within the vitreous clump together, casting tiny shadows on your retina; the floaters are the direct result of these shadows. This is often referred to as vitreous detachment.
The American Society of Retina Specialists mentions that conditions such as vitreous detachment are more common after the age of 60. But, eye floaters aren’t necessarily indicative of age- many young people report experiencing floaters in their eyes as well.
There are some conditions that may trigger floaters, including:
Eye floaters do not usually require treatment, because they don’t cause any harm to your eyesight- they’re mostly just annoying.
And while some floaters are normal, experiencing a sudden increase of them might be the sign of another issue, such as retinal detachment. Retinal detachment can be very serious, and -if left untreated- can lead to blindness. Here’s when to see your doctor about floaters:
If you notice a sudden increase of floaters in your eyes, contact your eye doctor immediately. Contact an eye doctor immediately if you also notice:
When you talk to your doctor, they will rule out any serious eye conditions or other issues.
If they don’t find any problems, you probably just have good old, run-of-the-mill floaters in your eyes- and can try to get rid of them on your own.
You have options! There are a few different methods of treating eye floaters.
First up: The Cold Shoulder
Sometimes, acting like the floaters aren’t even there is good enough. Usually floaters will go away on their own- and if they don’t, your brain will get used to them and you’ll simply stop noticing them. This is the easiest, non-invasive way of treating eye floaters.
One of your options is removal of your little floater friends, via a Vitrectomy.
During this (invasive) surgery, your eye doctor will remove the vitreous (mentioned above; it’s the jelly-like substance that fills your eye) through a small incision and will replace it with another solution, to help your eye maintain its shape. Vitrectomy surgery might not remove all of your floaters, and there’s a possible risk of developing new floaters after surgery.
With vitrectomy surgery, you risk possible bleeding and/or retinal tears- so this surgery is typically reserved for extreme cases of floaters.
Laser therapy- just the name sounds cool, right?
But this isn’t the preferred treatment method, since it’s still pretty experimental. In some cases it’s been considered effective, but in others there’s been little-to-no difference reported.
You should have a comprehensive chat with your eye doctor to see which course of action they recommend- but opt for surgery as a last resort when it comes to eye floaters.
To improve the overall health of your eyes- and maybe avoid getting floaters or other eye complications in the first place- you can implement a few simple lifestyle changes. Here are some ideas!
Eye floaters can certainly be irritating, but usually they clear up all on their own!
If you find your floaters getting increasingly worse, or are too distracting for you, call your eye doctor to schedule a visit. Otherwise- by ignoring them completely- your brain will simply learn to forget about them!
The team at LasikPlus is here to help on your journey to better vision- so give us a call today to schedule your free comprehensive eye exam, and determine if you are a LASIK candidate.
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