Eye floaters are various shaped particles in your field of vision that become more noticeable when you look at a bright and plain background such as the blue sky or a white piece of paper. When you move your eyes to try and look at them, they will quickly disappear from your visual field.
Eye Floaters are made up of a protein called collagen and are part of the vitreous. They occur as a result of ageing when the gel-like substance in the eye (vitreous humor) turns to more of a liquid substance. Shadows on the retina are then cast when the microscopic fibres in the vitreous clump. These shadows are referred to as eye floaters.
Eye Floaters in vision usually occur between the ages of 50-75 and are more likely to appear if you’ve undergone cataract surgery or are near-sighted.
Black dots in vision
Eye floaters often appear as grey or black spots in vision but can also appear as cobwebs, rings or squiggly lines. They tend to drift through your field of vision, and while they can be annoying to live with, they should not interfere with your ability to see.
Eye Floaters - Flashing Lights in Eyes
Eye floaters can cause you to see flashing lights. Flashing lights in your eyes are caused when the vitreous comes away from the retina, a process known as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Retinal detachment can also cause flashes in eyes.
Retinal detachment is when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye. It is a severe condition that can lead to vision loss if left untreated.
If you see flashes of light in your peripheral vision, you should contact your eye care specialist immediately.
Do eye floaters go away?
Eye floaters will last forever and will never completely go away; however, the black spots in vision sometimes become less visible over time as the brain adapts, getting used to them. This process is known as neuro-adaptation. As time progresses, eye floaters tend to shrink in size and density and become lighter. They can also move position in the eye, reducing the appearance of the shadow effect.
Are floaters in the eye dangerous?
Eye Floaters are usually nothing to be concerned about and do not signify anything dangerous.
When should I worry about eye floaters?
You should worry about eye floaters if you notice a sudden increase. You should see your doctor if you experience the following:
- Flashes in eyes
- A dark shadow or curtain in one side of your peripheral vision
- Trouble seeing
- Eye Pain
These symptoms could indicate a more serious problem such as retinal tears or retinal detachment that may require treatment and medical attention.
What are eye floaters a symptom of?
Eye Floaters are an age-related symptom and occur as you get older, typically between the ages of 50-70 years old. However, they can also be a symptom of the following:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye disease
- Eye injury
- Crystal-like deposits in the vitreous
In addition to these, they can also signify more severe eye conditions such as:
- Retinal detachment
- Eye tumours
- Torn retina
- Bleeding in your retina
- An inflamed vitreous or retina caused by infections
It is crucial that you monitor your eye health by scheduling regular eye exams with your optician. This can prevent more severe eye conditions from escalating and causing vision loss.
It is possible to mistake a visual aura for an eye floater. Visual auras come accompanied with a headache and appear in a similar way to what you see when you look through a kaleidoscope. They last for a few minutes before completely disappearing.
How can eye floaters be prevented?
Age-related eye floaters cannot be prevented; however, you can avoid eye floaters caused by injury by wearing eyewear to protect your eyes when carrying out tasks that require the use of dangerous tools or when playing certain sports. Wearing sunglasses such as wrap sunglasses are an excellent choice for sports such as golf and tennis.
You can reduce the likelihood of getting floaters as a result of a vitreous haemorrhage caused by diabetic retinopathy. Improving your blood sugar levels to control hyperglycaemia will do this.
What is the treatment for eye floaters?
There are no proven methods deemed as safe for treating eye floaters.
While vitamins, herbs and various home remedies have been recommended as a way of treating eye floaters, none of these solutions has been clinically proven. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs can be used in cases where eye floaters are the result of white blood cells in the vitreous, caused by infection. The drugs will reduce these white blood cells.
Some ophthalmologists have suggested that you can get rid of eye floaters by breaking them up with a YAG laser; however, there is no conclusive evidence to confirm the safety or effectiveness of this procedure. In addition to this, laser therapy is a risky treatment and can pose a threat to your vision.
Surgery can be undertaken to remove the vitreous; this procedure is called a vitrectomy and is used when there is a large quantity of non-clearing blood or inflammatory debris in the eye. Treating the typical type of eye floaters with a vitrectomy can potentially cause cataracts to form or retinal detachment. There is also a small risk of bleeding in the eye.
How do I get rid of floaters in my vision?
As mentioned above, it is not easy to get rid of floaters in vision without risk to your eyes and vision. However, you can learn relaxation techniques to speed up the process of neurological adaptation, which will help you to ignore floaters in your vision.
A guide to retinal detachment
A guide to cataracts
A guide to eye infections