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Eye Floaters

More about Retina

Floaters in Eyes

Floaters are those specks or spots in your vision that move about when you change your gaze. Typically, they are just a nuisance and eventually go away independently. 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 older adults. 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 specks, strings, or cobwebs in your vision which might move as you do or be stationary if you standstill.

What Causes Floaters in eyes

Any of the following can cause floaters in the eyes:

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

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

3. Disease or infection- conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or 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 separation. The vitreous jelly pulls on the retina during this process and can cause retinal tears or holes. When these holes or tears occur, there is a release of pigments in the eyes, and these pigments 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 retinal detachment surgery to fix it.

Are floaters in eyes dangerous?

Floaters are tiny bits of protein or cells that float in the vitreous humour, 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 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 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, the floaters may be caused by something more severe like retinal detachment or other eye disorders like macular degeneration. It would help if you talked to your doctor about this issue as soon as possible.

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

  1. We can do nothing much for the age-related floaters most of the time. 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. It would help if you did not look for them in your visual field, but once you spot them, then many a time you can stop seeing them.
  3. The most common eye condition that can lead to floaters is retinal detachment. It is essential to immediately rush to your eye doctor, preferably a retina specialist, to make sure you don't have a retinal hole or tear. If you have a retinal detachment, your retina specialist may suggest a laser or even surgery.
  4. Injury to the eye can lead to floaters. These floaters are seen because of bleeding within the eye or uveitis. Depending on the seriousness of the damage, your doctor may suggest eye drops or sometimes even 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. It would help if you understood that the doctor is not offering you a solution to get rid of the floaters. The doctor is offering you a solution to treat the underlying disease caused by the floaters.
  6. As mentioned previously, floaters usually don't reduce vision. We mean that even though there is a visual disturbance, the quantum of sight is not affected. However, sometimes the floaters are so many that vision reduces. When there is a vision drop by two lines on the Snellen's chart, then your eSnellenr may suggest a surgery called vitrectomy. In the surgery, the retina specialist will remove the entire jelly at the back part of the eye, known as the vitreous jelly.
  7. We rely on another treatment if the floaters are significant. A laser disrupts the floaters. These lasers have side effects and can cause some damage to the retina or the lens inside the eye. These lasers are rarely used and only when patients have significant floaters and cannot undergo surgery. Patients may not notice a visual improvement after the laser procedure.

How to reduce Floaters in the eyes naturally?

Age-related floaters in the eyes is an age-related 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 is not possible to get rid of.

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 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 worrying 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 essential 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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