Floaters in Your Eye? Here’s Why
Have you noticed tiny specs that float in your vision? Many people have, and often it is just a piece of dust or a trick of the light, but, if you notice these floating specks in your vision on a regular basis, it could be an indication of a more serious issue.
Floaters in your eyes are small, dark specks or short, wriggly strands that seem to float around in your vision. They do not follow your vision; instead, they seem to move independently. They move around your vision when your eyes stop moving, and they dart away when you try to focus on them. You may notice floaters in your eyes when you look at a bright, white background or the blue sky. For most people, floaters are simply annoying, but, in more severe cases, black floaters in the eye can be so numerous they affect vision and need to be removed.
Causes of Eye Floaters
Floaters are not actually specs of dust or particle; they are part of the vitreous. The vitreous is a gel-like substance that is responsible for helping the eye hold its spherical shape, it also fills the space between the lens and the retina holding the retina in place. Floaters are caused when the vitreous gel shrinks. The gel-like substance becomes stringy, and these stringy strands cast shadows on the retina, which causes the floaters in vision.
Aging, diabetes, nearsightedness, or cataracts may cause the vitreous gel to shrink, however, floaters can be an indication of a more serious issue such as an injury to the eye, hemorrhaging, an infection, or uveitis, and sometimes, as the vitreous gel shrinks it pulls on the delicate retina causing it to tear, which leads to more serious eye problems with the retina. And this is why it is so important to schedule regular eye exams at your local Kelowna optometrist, what may seem like a small and insignificant part of aging may, in fact, be symptom of a more serious ailment.
You should schedule an appointment to have your eyes checked if you experience any of the following:
- Floaters that don’t go away
- A sudden increase in floaters
- Floaters and flashes of light
- A dark shadow or curtain in your peripheral vision
- Trouble seeing
- Sore eyes
Treatment for Eye Floaters in Kelowna
Many people with floaters look for a quick cure such as eye drops for floaters, and there are many safe products on the market, but eye drops only offer temporary relief for a mild case of eye floaters. If the floaters are few and infrequent and your optometrist has established that there is no retinal damage, the best eye floater treatment is simply to focus on your overall nutrition and health.
If the symptoms are severe and interfere with your vision, you may need surgery to replace the vitreous gel that has been shrinking. This operation, called a vitrectomy, removes the remaining stringy vitreous gel and replaces it with a salt solution that closely resembles the watery solution of the vitreous. Unfortunately, the risks involved with a vitrectomy include surgically induced retinal detachment and serious eye infections, and this is why most eye surgeons do not recommend a vitrectomy to treat eye floaters.
Laser vitreolysis is a new eye floater treatment that is a much safer, and less invasive alternative to a vitrectomy. Laser treatment for eye floaters is an in-office procedure. A laser beam is projected through the pupil to focus on large floating strands of the vitreous gel. The laser breaks the floating pieces apart and vaporizes them so that they shrink or disappear. After treatment, there may be some mild discomfort, redness, or blurry vision, but these usually disappear quickly, and most people can carry out their day as normal.
Laser treatment can take less than 30 minutes, and while you may need a second treatment, this is a safe, effective and fast way to get rid of bothersome floaters.
Everyone experiences floaters from time to time, and in most cases, the floaters go away, but if you find the floaters are increasing or becoming bothersome, don’t ignore the symptoms, get your eyes checked to make sure those floaters don’t indicate a more serious problem.