What Causes Floaters in Your Eyes?

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. 

What are Floaters?

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. 

Strange, huh? 

 

What Causes Eye Floaters?

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: 

  • Certain medications
  • Surgery
  • Tumors
  • Diabetic retinopathy (link to diabetic retinopathy post when published)
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Nearsightedness 

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:

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When to See Your Doctor About Eye 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:

  • Flashes of light (in the same eye as your floaters)
  • Darkness (in any parts of your vision) 
  • Loss of peripheral vision 
  • Inflammation in your eyes
  • Vision loss

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.

floater

 

How Do You Get Rid of Floaters in Your Eyes?

You have options! There are a few different methods of treating eye floaters.  

Just Ignore Them 

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. 

Removal Surgery

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

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. 

Lifestyle Changes

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!

  • Change your diet. To keep your eyes in great working-order, try to choose foods that are rich in antioxidants-  like Vitamins A & C- dark, leafy, green vegetables, and fish (which is high in omega-3’s- essential for healthy eyes!) For more information on this, read our blog post on natural foods to help promote better vision

 

  • Drink lots of water. Water is essential for our overall health and wellbeing- and not just for hydration! Eye floaters can sometimes form as the result of toxin buildup, but staying hydrated can help flush out these harmful toxins from your body. 

 

  • Rest your eyes. Give your eyes a break from looking at screens or devices (follow the 20-20-20 rule!) and wear blue light glasses– especially if you work long hours in front of the computer.

 

  • Get LASIK Surgery. Contacts are breeding grounds for bacteria, and glasses aren’t practical for day-to-day life. Opting for LASIK surgery is a great way to change the way you see the world for the better. To see if LASIK is the right choice for you, take this quiz!

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Before You Go:

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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