If you have eye floaters, you know how annoying they can be. This condition affects many people and questions about them are some of the most common vision questions people ask their optometrist during routine eye exams. What exactly are they? Are they bad for your eyes? What can be done to prevent them? Let’s shed some light on eye floaters and how exactly they impact your vision.
Eye floaters often appear as small grey or black spots, string-like formations or tiny bits of debris that drift in and out of your vision when you move your eyes. One main way to tell if you have eye floaters present is to look at something with a bright background to see if you notice any of these objects moving around. They can be tough to get a good look at because they move with your eyes as you try to focus on them.
Floaters are often mistaken for dust particles on the surface of the eye, but they are actually contained within the eyeball and can’t be removed with eye drops or rinsing the surface of the eye. So what can you do to treat them and are they harmful at all? The good news is most of the time they do not affect the health of your eyes, but they certainly can be a bit bothersome.
What Causes Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters usually occur as a result of age-related changes that can take place in our eyes, specifically in the vitreous humor. This gel-like substance fills our eyeballs and helps them maintain their round shape. Over time, this substance can change in consistency and these changes may lead to floaters when potions of the vitreous humor break apart and become suspended. This vitreous debris casts tiny shadows on the retina that causes them to appear as if they are floating in you field of vision.
Are Floaters Harmful?
Although eye floaters can be annoying at times when they float across your line of sight when you’re trying to focus on something, they are usually nothing to worry about. In most cases, they cause no adverse effects to the eyes and most people will experience them at some point in their life. That being said, it is important to note that if eye floaters ever start to suddenly increase significantly in number or are accompanied by any flashes of light or loss of vision, this could be an early sign of retinal detachment and should be looked at by an eye care professional immediately.
How Are Eye Floaters Treated?
Most of the time, eye floaters do not affect your eye health, so they are not treated. They often fade over time and will become less noticeable and they sink out of your line of vision. It’s still a good idea to make your eye care professional aware of these objects if you are seeing them so they can document your condition and monitor any changes to your vision during your regular eye exams. Be sure to report any significant changes in number of floaters or flashes of light you are experiencing in between your routine eye exams to catch any potentially damaging eye problems early on.
If it’s been a while since your last eye exam, give Harvey & Lewis Opticians a call to schedule an appointment with one of our independent doctors of optometry at any of our locations across Connecticut. Let us know if you’re experiencing any eye floaters or any other eye problems and we’ll perform a thorough examination to address any existing conditions and help prevent future problems from occurring.