Eye floaters - Causes and Treatment | Plano - Other Eye Conditions

Eye floaters – Causes and treatment

eye floaters

Source: Mayo Clinic

Eye floaters are spots in your vision. Floaters may appear like black or gray specks, strings, or cobwebs that float about when your eyes move. These floaters also seem to bounce off when you attempt to gaze at them directly.

eye floaters

Source: Mayo Clinic

What are the causes of eye floaters?

eye floaters

Source: Mayo Clinic

  • Aging

The vitreous (jelly-like substance filling your eyeballs to maintain their round shape) becomes more liquified as you get older. As time goes on, with liquefaction, the vitreous may detach from the eyeball’s interior surface, known as a vitreous detachment. The accumulation of microscopic fibers within the vitreous can create tiny shadows on your retina. These shadows you observe are referred to as floaters.

  • Eye inflammation

Posterior uveitis, an inflammatory condition due can result in the release of inflammatory debris into the vitreous which are seen as floaters.

  • Bleeding in the eye

Diabetes, hypertension, blocked blood vessels and eye injury can lead to bleeding in the vitreous. When bleeding occurs, blood cells are released and when floating around, they are perceived as floaters.

  • Retinal detachment

When a sagging vitreous tugs on the retina, it may cause a tear. If left untreated, a retinal tear may lead to a retinal detachment which gives rise to floaters. An untreated retinal detachment can lead to severe vision loss.

  • Eye surgeries and medications

Certain medications that are injected into the vitreous as part of a treatment plan for eye diseases can lead to the formation of air bubbles. These bubbles are perceived as shadows until they are absorbed. Silicone oil bubbles inserted into the vitreous as part of eye surgeries may give rise to floaters.

How are eye floaters treated?

Most eye floaters do not need to be medically treated and rather monitored closely for any changes.

If eye floaters affect your vision,  your eye doctor may recommend the following treatments, such as

  • Surgery to remove the vitreous

During this surgery called a vitrectomy, your eye doctor would make a small incision, remove the vitreous and replace it with a solution to maintain your eye shape. Bear in mind that surgery may not remove all the floaters completely. New floaters can still surface after surgery. Surgery additionally carries risks like retinal tears and bleeding.

  • Laser to break the floaters up

When you opt for this procedure, your eye doctor uses a special laser to disrupt the floaters in the vitreous to render them less observable. The results of laser therapy might differ, with some people having enhanced vision whereas others not experiencing any difference post-surgery. Laser therapy contains risks like retinal damage if the laser is aimed incorrectly.

When eye floaters abruptly appear in greater amounts in your vision, contact your doctor immediately, particularly if there is an increase in number and/or size, change in appearance and/or colour if they are accompanied by flashes of light. Applicable to numerous situations, prevention is better than cure! Book an eye appointment with your eye care professional via planoEyecheck to ensure the health of your eyes and vision are optimal 

References

Mayo Clinic. 2021. Eye floaters – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eye-floaters/symptoms-causes/syc-20372346> [Accessed 7 December 2021].

Mayoclinic.org. 2021. Eye floaters – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eye-floaters/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372350> [Accessed 7 December 2021].

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