The Facts about Eye Floaters

Eye FloatersDo you see dark, shadowy specks or “cobwebs” floating in your field of vision? Perhaps they look like tiny threads or jagged lines. Then once you try to look directly at them they disappear. These are called eye floaters, a condition that becomes more prominent when you look at something bright like a blue sky or a white wall. While annoying, eye floaters are not something that directly interferes with your sight and rarely requires any kind of treatment.

What Causes Eye Floaters?
A large part of your eye is filled with a gel-like material called the vitreous which helps maintain your eye’s round shape. Floaters appear when the vitreous gradually shrinks, becoming little shreds that cast tiny shadows on your retina. Floaters usually occur as you age, generally between ages 50 to 75, and they tend to be more prevalent if you are nearsighted, have diabetes, or have had cataract surgery. Floaters don’t go away completely, but over time they are inclined to settle at the bottom of your eye below your line of sight and become less bothersome.

How Are They Treated?
If eye floaters don’t bother you, don’t worry about seeking treatment. A good way to get rid of them is to move your eyes up and down to shift your eye fluid around. But if you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s time to visit your doctor.

  • Floaters that get thicker
  • Floaters that appear in large numbers
  • Sudden flashes of light
  • Changes in floaters that appear quickly and get worse with time
  • Floaters that appear after eye surgery or eye trauma
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Eye pain

If you experience any of the above, your eye doctor may recommend a vitrectomy, eye surgery that removes the vitreous gel and the floating debris from your eye, replacing it with a salt solution. Surgery to treat eye floaters is usually only performed when the floaters seriously impede your vision.

To learn more about detecting and treating eye floaters, or for questions regarding our services, contact our office or call 208.342.5151 in Meridian or 208.459.0717 in Caldwell. We look forward to hearing from you!

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