What are eye floaters?
Eye floaters are tiny dots or wires that float in your field of vision. They can be a nuisance, eye floaters shouldn’t cause you any pain or discomfort. They appear as black or grey spots, lines, cobwebs, or blisters. Occasionally a large float will cast a shadow over your vision and cause a large dark spot on your vision.
Because the floaters are within the eye fluid, they move as the eyes move. If you try to look at them correctly, they will be out of sight. Eye floaters are usually visible when looking at a smooth, shiny surface such as the sky, a reflective object, or a blank paper. They can only be in one eye or they can be in both.
Floaters are common and generally do not cause alarms. However, they can be a symptom of a developing eye condition or an underlying health problem. Common conditions that trigger floaters:
- Close vision
- Migraines or headaches
- Inflammation of the posterior eye
- Eye bleeding
- Torn retina
- Diabetic retinopathy
Since floaters can be a symptom of a serious eye disease that threatens vision, it is important to see an ophthalmologist immediately if you begin to experience a sudden increase in floaters. Your doctor can rule out any problems. If you don’t find any problems with your eyes, read on for tips on how to deal with floaters.
Are floaters hereditary?
Floaters occur in anyone as they age. However, other vision problems, such as retinal tears or detachments, can be inherited. If you have a family history of retinal detachment or tears, you are at risk of developing them later. Eye floaters and lights are potential signs of retinal detachment or retinal tears.
Other risk factors that your family can pass on are related to your vision, especially myopia. If you look closely, you run the risk of developing floaters. This can eventually lead to a retinal detachment.
However, most people do not have a family history of retinal detachment or retinal tears when they experience floaters. It is important to remember that floating eyes often occur naturally over time and are part of the aging process.
Who develops the most floaters?
In most cases, floaters develop as you age. They can happen to anyone, but you have a higher risk of cataracts:
- Older (generally older than 50 years)
- Look closely (you have trouble seeing things at a distance)
- Have diabetes
- You have had eye problems in the past, such as eye swelling
- Surgery was performed to correct the cataract
What parts of the eye are affected by floaters?
When you have eye floaters, they often appear in front of or on the surface of the eye. You can rub your eyes or remove your contact lenses to remove dust-like particles. However, the eye floaters are inside your eye. Think of your eye as a ball. To get its rounded shape, your eye is filled with a gel-like liquid called vitreous. Vitreous is in the middle of the eye, with other structures that allow it to see the world around it.
As your eye moves from front to back, it has several layers:
- Optic nerve
When talking about floaters and their effect on the eye, it is important to know the retina. The retina at the back of the eye converts the light that enters the eye into electrical signals. These signals go to the brain and are converted into images. When you have floaters in the vitreous, they hover in front of the retina. Cast shadows and patterns on the retina, then you see part of what you are looking at.
3 ways to get rid of floaters
Treatment for floaters depends on the underlying cause. Some cases are harmless, but more serious cases can affect the health of your eyes. If floaters begin to damage your vision, there are treatments available to underestimate or eliminate them.
Sometimes the best treatment is not at all. In many cases, floaters will fade or disappear on their own. If they don’t deteriorate, sometimes your brain learns to ignore them. As a result, your vision begins to adapt. You won’t notice them much anymore.
Dealing with floaters is the least invasive option to protect your eyes. If floaters become a nuisance or damage your vision, discuss your options with your ophthalmologist.
Vitrectomy is an invasive surgery that can remove floaters from your line of sight. During this procedure, your ophthalmologist will remove the vitreous through a small incision. Vitreous is a transparent gel-like substance that maintains the shape of the eyes.
Your doctor will replace the vitreous with a solution to maintain the shape of your eye. As your body produces more vitreous, it will eventually replace this new solution.
Although effective, vitrectomy may not always eliminate floaters. If this procedure causes any bleeding or injury, it may still come back. This surgery is used for the severe symptoms of floaters.
Laser treatment for eye floaters
Laser therapy involves targeting lasers at eye floaters. This can cause them to break down and reduce their presence. If the lasers are pointed incorrectly, you risk damaging your retina.
This procedure is not the preferred treatment method as it is still experimental. Although it is considered an effective treatment in some cases, some have not seen any improvement. This can make floaters worse in some cases. Discuss your options with your doctor before following this method.
Symptoms of eye floaters
The main characteristics of eye floaters are small areas in a person’s field of vision.
- It can take a variety of forms, including floats.
- Black or grey dots
- Active lines
- Threadlock strands
- Spider webs
Once you get them, they usually don’t go away. But you usually notice them less over time.
- Shadow spots or spots
- Short lines
- Cobweb shapes
- Other irregular shapes
They can also appear as a dark or light viewing area. Sometimes the area where the float is located looks a bit blurry compared to the rest of the focus field. Floaters are small but can significantly affect vision because they are so close to the entrance of the eye.
One characteristic of eye floaters is that they are visible forward and backwards in the field of vision. Trying to see the float directly causes it to move in the direction that the person is visible. When the person rests the eyes, the floats appear to deflect on their own.
Causes of eye floaters
- Eye floaters are a natural phenomenon due to the vitreous body of the eye. Vitreous help give the eye its rounded shape.
- Floaters form when this vitreous body begins to shrink. As it contracts, the smaller fibres split and become a rope. This is what doctors call a vitreous detachment.
- This detachment causes a rough mass of vitreous to interfere with the light entering the retina. Cast a little shadow to the eye, which makes the floaters noticeable.
- Eye floaters are a common part of the aging process. Conditions like vitreous detachment are more likely to appear after 60 years, according to the American Society of Retina Specialists.
- Although they are ignored by most people, not everyone can get floaters at some point. Most people only notice them when they see an area such as a sky or an empty, shiny surface.
- Although initially distracting, most floaters settle below the eye, below the field of vision.
However, the American Society of Retina Specialists recommends that a person who notices sudden symptoms such as floaters should have a checkup with an ophthalmologist within the first few months of the onset of symptoms and look for signs of more serious problems.
Although some floaters in the eye are a normal part of the aging process, a sudden increase in floaters in the eye can be a sign of another problem, such as retinal detachment.
When retinal detachment occurs, it is not uncommon for people to experience floaters and other symptoms. They may experience the light that is not there, especially towards their areas of focus. They lose focus on the sides of their eyes.
Retinal detachment is severe and can lead to blindness without treatment. Anyone who notices a sudden and noticeable increase in floaters, among other symptoms, should see an ophthalmologist immediately.
There are also more serious causes of floaters in the eye:
- Inflammation in the eye
- Tear or injury to the retina
- Traumatic injury to the eye
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye tumors
Anyone who notices a sudden increase in floaters should see an ophthalmologist for a full diagnosis.
How are eye floaters treated?
Any underlying cause of floaters can be treated, such as diabetes or inflammation bleeding. However, most eye floaters do not require treatment. Eye floaters can be frustrating and take time to adjust. If you know that floaters aren’t causing any more problems, you may eventually ignore them or notice them less often.
If floaters affect your vision, which is rare, you and your ophthalmologist may consider treatment. Options can include:
- Surgery to remove the vitreous: An ophthalmologist will remove the vitreous through a small incision (vitrectomy) and replace it with a solution to help maintain the shape of your eye. Surgery may not remove all floaters, and new floaters may develop after surgery. The risks of vitrectomy include retinal bleeding and tears.
- Use a laser to break the floats: The ophthalmologist directs a special laser at the floaters in the vitreous, which breaks them down and makes them less visible. Some who have reported this treatment have improved vision; Others notice little or no difference. The dangers of laser treatment can damage the retina if the laser is pointed incorrectly. Laser surgery is rarely used to treat floaters.
The benign ones do not require medical treatment.
- If they bother you, try to get them out of your field of vision. Roll your eyes, this will make the liquid spin. Look up and down, they generally work the best side by side.
- If your vision is too much for them to block, your ophthalmologist may prescribe a surgery called a vitrectomy. They remove the vitreous and replace it with saline.
You may have problems with:
- Detached retina
- Torn retina
- The risk is low, but if these problems occur, they can permanently damage your vision.
Prevention of eye floaters
Although it may not be possible to prevent eye floaters, it is still helpful to follow some basic practices to keep the eyes healthy. These include:
- Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
- Eat a varied, nutritious diet
- Quit smoking
- Wear sunglasses outdoors
- Wear protective eyewear when necessary
- Rest the eyes frequently