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Eye Floaters

More about Retina

Floaters in Eyes

Floaters are those little specks or spots in your vision that move about when you change your gaze. Normally, they are just a nuisance and go away on their own eventually. But for some people, floaters stay around and can be very disturbing.

What are floaters in the eyes

Floaters are a phenomenon that is typically seen in elderly people. Most of them have normal eyes. Some may have certain eye conditions which can lead to floaters. Floaters are not considered a serious medical condition and are usually harmless. The most common symptoms of floaters include seeing small specks, strings, or cobwebs in your vision which might move as you do or be stationary if you stand still.

What Causes Floaters in eyes

Floaters in the eyes can be caused by any of the following:

1. Aging- most people will experience floaters or flashes in their eyes as they age. This is often associated with a condition called posterior viterious detachment. There is this jelly at the back of the eye called the vitrous jelly. This vitreous jelly is attached to the retina at certain points. With age this vitreious jelly contracts and detaches from these attachments. Once it is detached the degenerated vitreous becomes mobile and the opacities within the jelly appear as floaters.

2. Physical injury to eye- this is often associated with sudden pain and floaters due to bleeding within the eye.

3. Disease or infection- conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or an inflammation in the iris are often related to floaters and flashes in your eyes.

4. Coagulation of blood cells or vitreous gel within the eye- this can be caused by a retina tear or detachment, which leads to coagulated blood cells that cause a flap across your field of vision when you look at something close up

5. Retinal tear or detachment. This too can happen during the process of vitreous detachment. During this process the vitreous jelly pulls on the retina and can cause retinal tears or holes. When these holes or tears occur there is a release of pigments in the eyes and its these pigments that appear as floaters in the eyes. These holes or tears can lead to a retinal detachment. Most of the time a retinal detachment will need a retinal detachment surgery to fix it.

Are floaters in eyes dangerous

Floaters are little bits of protein or cells that float in the vitreous humor, which is the fluid inside your eye. They form when parts of your retina slowly detach from the back wall of your eye and float to the front where they can be seen.

Floaters are not a cause for concern as they don't indicate anything serious. It is a common complaint and it does not cause any pain or affect vision. You can usually just ignore them or try to get rid of them by looking into bright light such as sunlight.

These floaters may appear as black, grey, white, yellowish, greenish spots that intermittently drift through the field of vision and may seem like streaks before disappearing. The presence of floaters does not usually mean anything serious and should not cause any vision related problems.

Treatment of floaters in eyes

The first thing you should do is to find out what might be causing the floaters in your vision. Smoking, drinking alcohol, time pressures or computer work can all cause floaters to worsen over time. If you have been having these problems for a while then it is possible that the floaters are caused by something more serious like retinal detachment or other eye disorders like macular degeneration. You should talk to your doctor about this issue as soon as possible.

Thus treatment of floaters in eye would depend on why these floaters are occuring in the first place

  1. Most of the time nothing much can be done for the age related floaters. As mentioned these are age related changes in your eyes and you have to learn to live with them.
  2. One way to live with them is to stop thinking about them. You should not look for them in your visual field but once you spot them then many a time you cant stop seeing them.
  3. The most common eye condition that can lead to floaters is a retinal detachment. Its important to immediately rush to your eye doctor preferably a retina specialist to make sure you dont have a retinal hole or tear. If you do have a retinal detachment then your retina specialist may suggest a laser or even a surgery.
  4. Injury to the eye can lead to floaters. These floaters are seen because of bleeding within the eye or something known as uveitis. Depending on the seriuosness of the injury your doctor may suggest you eye drops or even sometimes surgery.
  5. Floaters may also happen due to diabetic eye disease. Here too bleeding is the cause of floaters and your retina specialist may suggest drops or laser or even surgery to solve the problem. You should understand here that the doctor is not offering you a solution so that you get rid of the floaters. The doctor is offering you a solution to treat the underlying disease that has caused the floaters.
  6. As mentioned previously floaters usually dont reduce vision. What we mean to say is that even though there is a visual distrubance the quantum of vision is not affected. However, sometimes the floaters are so many that vision reduces. When there is a vision drop by 2 lines on the snellens chart then your eye doctor may suggest a sugery called vitrectomy. Here the retina specialist will remove the entire jelly at the back part of the eye. This is known as the vitreous jelly.
  7. Very rarerely another treatment is offered if the floaters are significant. A laser is used to disrupt the folaters so that they no longer bother the patient. These lasers also have side effects and can cause the retina or the lens inside the eye some harm. As mentioned these lasers are rarely used and used only when patients have significant floaters and cannot undergo surgery. When patients undero this treatment they may or may not notice a visual improvement after the laser procedure.

How to reduce Floaters in eyes naturally

Age related floaters in eyes are a common problem. They are not serious, but they can cause some visual disturbances and make it difficult to focus on what's happening in front of you.

It not really possible to get rid of floaters.

However, this is what usually happens

  1. They settle down at the bottom part of the eye thus not obstructing the vision.
  2. Patients get used to them and the same floaters that were once bothering patients no longer bother them. Also after seeing their eye doctor once patients know that these floaters are not going to harm their eyes the floaters stop bothering them.
  3. Floaters which occur after surgery or because of diabetic eye disease usually reduce on their own and stop bothering patients.

PRO TIP : It is very important to not think about the floaters or look for them. The more you look for them the more you will see them and the more they will bother you.

 

Frequently Asked Questions ?

What are eye floaters ?
Floaters are little “cobwebs” or specks that float about in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. They do not follow your eye movements precisely, and usually drift when your eyes stop moving.

Most people have floaters and learn to ignore them; they are usually not noticed until they become numerous or more prominent. Floaters can become apparent when looking at something bright, such as white paper or a blue sky.

What Causes eye floaters ?
Floaters occur when the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills about 80 percent of the eye and helps it maintain a round shape, slowly shrinks.

As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina. These are floaters.

In most cases, floaters are part of the natural aging process and simply an annoyance. They can be distracting at first, but eventually tend to “settle” at the bottom of the eye, becoming less bothersome. They usually settle below the line of sight and do not go away completely.

However, there are other, more serious causes of floaters, including infection, inflammation (uveitis), hemorrhaging, retinal tears, and injury to the eye.
Who are at risk to develop eye floaters ?
Floaters are more likely to develop as we age and are more common in people who are very nearsighted, have diabetes, or who have had a cataract operation.
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