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What Are Floaters In The Eye?

Monday, May 4, 2015 @ 03:05 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

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If you’ve ever felt like you’re seeing something in front of your eye, but there was nothing there, it is likely just a floater. Nothing to be alarmed about, floaters are not dangerous and are simply small pieces of tissue inside the eye. These small pieces of tissue are actually on the back of your eye, or inside, and when light hits shadows are created on the retina which result in you seeing something in front of you that isn’t there.

Floaters are a common occurrence as we get older. Typically, by the time you reach your 50s or 60s, you’ll have a few floaters of your own.

What Are Floaters?

Your eyeball contains what is called the vitreous humour (Latin meaning liquid) — a jello-like substance that holds your eye together. The older you get, the less solid this substance becomes, and sometimes, while still maintaining the eye together, it easily splits apart into clumps. And when the lighting conditions are just right, and you’re looking in the right direction, you might just be able to see some of these clumps that are happening behind-the-scenes so to speak.

Should I Worry?

Typically, no you shouldn’t worry if you see floaters. Having said that, once you start to see floaters, or if you notice the amount of floaters is increasing, it’s always a good idea to see your eye doctor. As a precaution, seeing your doctor will help to ensure you’re floaters aren’t causing any more serious damage and aren’t the result of any underlying issues as well, such as a tear in your retina.

Why Am I Seeing Floaters?

Though it’s generally a problem that occurs with aging, there are many reasons why people, young and old, might see floaters.

  • If you have migraines
  • If you are nearsighted
  • If you had cataract surgery or other eye surgeries
  • If you experience inflammation of the eyes
  • If you are pregnant
  • If you have had head and/or neck injuries,
  • If you have a history of diabetes or other circulatory problems

How Do I Treat Floaters?

Floaters are not painful, and unless you see them, you won’t really know they are present. Sadly, there is no treatment, no medicine and no surgery to treat for floaters. Depending on the floaters you have, they do sometimes float to the bottom of the vitreous fluid at the bottom of the eye, making it harder for you to see them on a regular basis. If you find the floaters to be really bothersome, try moving your eyes quickly in all directions to try to move the floaters away from where you’ll see them. Remember that the vitreous fluid is a jello-like substance so by moving your eyes, you might move the floaters in another part of the vitreous and won’t be bothered again.

When Should I See My Eye Doctor?

You should see your eye doctor if you find you are seeing an increased number of floaters to make sure these additional floaters are not caused by a detached retina. By understand your vision health and the signs to look for, you’ll know when it’s time to contact your eyecare professional for an exam. But always feel comfortable to call your doctor if you’re unsure. They will gladly answer any questions you might have. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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