Eye Floaters

Have you ever noticed specks or tiny spots that drift around your vision? These are known as floaters and for the most part, having floaters is common and nothing to worry about. As we age, floaters may become more frequent and noticing them on a more common basis can be a sign of a bigger problem.

What are Eye Floaters?

Floaters are small clumps of gel that form in the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside cavity of the eye. Although they appear to be in front of the eye, they are floating in the fluid inside the eye and the retina sees them as shadows.

Many patients call our offices with a complaint of new floaters in their vision. As we age, the vitreous degenerates and becomes waterier which is a natural process of aging so as the eyes get older, seeing more frequent floaters is likely.

Causes of Floaters

Many patients have floaters that look like small dark objects that move as we move our eyes and are usually seen during the day because they are easier to see when there is more light. When you see a floater, you are seeing a shadow of a particle in your eye. Floaters are not usually visually dangerous.

When a patient sees a sudden increase in floaters or flashes of light that occur in their peripheral vision, this can be the sign of a posterior vitreous detachment. A posterior vitreous detachment occurs when the vitreous gel separates from the retina suddenly.

The retina is similar to the film in a camera as it is a delicate tissue that lines the back of the eye. If your doctor discovers a tear in the retina, they will treat it with a laser to close it.

eyefloater chart

Treating Floaters

Having floaters can be annoying, but for some patients, they get in the way of seeing day to day things. If this is the case for you, it is possible to treat your bothersome floaters.

Until recently, the only way to treat floaters was with a procedure called a vitrectomy. A vitrectomy was only performed on patients that absolutely needed it, since there were serious side effects and complications associated with it.

Laser Vitreolysis Treatment

Now, patients who are looking to treat their floaters can have a procedure called laser vitreolysis. Laser vitreolysis breaks up your floaters using a laser. Once the floaters have been broken up, you may see small black spots.

These are small gas bubbles and are a normal part of the procedure that should go away shortly. Your eyes may feel irritated while you are recovering from the procedure. It is important to discuss any changes in your vision with your doctor at your regular eye appointments to avoid serious complications.

Contact SightMD today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors to discuss your vision health at one of our convenient locations!

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