What are Eye Floaters?

Do you have Eye Floaters? Eye Floaters are those transparent thread-like, web-like or blotchy/spotty images that sometimes move across your field of vision. And if you have Eye Floaters, you’re probably wondering what they are, if they’re dangerous, and whether you should find a treatment for Eye Floaters.

What Causes Eye Floaters?

Your eye has many parts. In the front is the cornea, the clear glassy membrane that spans over your entire eye. Behind that is your iris, with the lens nestled just behind. Way in the back of your eye is the retina, the part of the eye that contains the optic nerve and actually receives the light that passes through the eye. But inside your eye is not empty space. It’s actually filled with a transparent gel-like fluid called Vitreous. It’s more firm when you are born and gradually thins (liquefies) over time.

Floaters are caused when bits of the more gelatinous membranes detach from the back of the eye and begin floating within the more liquid Vitreous. But it’s not these particles that you see as Floaters. Instead, it’s the shadows of these particles that are the Eye Floaters you see.

Are Eye Floaters Dangerous?

Like the rest of the Vitreous in your eye, these particles will eventually dissolve, become more liquid and then invisible. Until then, you may notice them more when you are looking at a consistently light-colored surface, such as a whiteboard, clear sky, or bare wall. And you’ll also notice that they don’t seem to stay still, because as soon as you turn your vision towards them, they seem to instantly move.

If this describes what you see, then your Eye Floaters are probably not dangerous. However, if you suddenly see many Eye Floaters, or they are accompanied by flashes of light, this may indicate another condition called Posterior Vitreous Detachment, where gel-like vitreous is detaching from the retina. Other types of Eye Floaters might be an early indication of broken blood vessels, which would eventually result in cloudy vision.

The flashes could also be a sign of more serious conditions, including Retinal Tears and Retinal Detachment. A retinal Tear is a split in the retina, which is dangerous because it could allow fluid to get between the retina and the back of the eye. That could then result in Retinal Detachment, where the retina itself partially or fully detaches from the back of the eye. In either case, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Is There A Treatment For Eye Floaters?

If your Eye Floaters are caused by Retinal Detachment, then you will likely need surgery to reattach the retina to the back of the eye. If your Eye Floaters are caused by posterior vitreous detachment, there is no treatment.

However, in most cases, Eye Floaters are benign. Yes, they can be mildly annoying and occasionally be a little more apparent than at other times, but generally speaking, they do no harm. And if they are caused by the typical conditions, there really isn’t a treatment for eye floaters.

See Your Optometrist About Eye Floaters

Eye Floaters are relatively common as we age. But if you have any concerns at all about your Eye Floaters — especially if you haven’t seen your Optometrist in more than a year — make an appointment. Your Doctor will be able to help determine whether your Eye Floaters are dangerous or not, and whether you need treatment. The Office of Dr. Barry Leonard has treated tens of thousands of patients, many with Eye Floaters. Call our office today to make an appointment, or make an appointment online. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

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