Have you ever been looking at something, and as you glanced away noticed a small speck that trailed with your vision? Sometimes when we are in the sunlight, or a situation where we are staring too directly into a lightbulb for example, when we look away something lingers in our vision. You may look around your space and notice the “floater” is in the same spot in your field of vision, no matter where you look. These are usually a very normal reaction and can be related to the fluid-like substance in our eyes.
What causes floaters
Our eyes consist of a delicate balance between fluid, tissue, lenses, light, and angles. The fluid in our eyes is called vitreous, this is a gel-like fluid that changes over time, and the fluid contains proteins. The collagen protein is typically what causes the so-called “floaters”.
As we age, the proteins clump together and this can cause a small shadow to be cast on your retina. This most often happens to those over the age of 50, and is more likely to happen to those who are nearsighted or have had cataract surgery.
How to treat them
Floaters almost never require medical treatment. If you feel annoyed, move your eyes around to try to get them out of your field of vision. See your eye doctor regularly and at the first sign of new developments.
If there are so many floaters that they are seriously interfering with your vision, your eye doctor may suggest surgery called a vitrectomy, which removes the vitreous and replaces it with a salt solution — permanently eliminating any floaters.
When to see your eye doctor
However, floaters could occasionally be a symptom of more serious conditions, including:
- Eye infection or inflammation
- Detached retina
- Bleeding or blood in the vitreous fluid
- Torn or damaged retina
- Diabetic retinopathy
The key to ensuring your vision remains healthy is to get regular eye exams, and then see your eye doctor right away if you experience any of the following more serious symptoms:
- An increase in the number and frequency of floaters
- Flashes of light like a light being turned on in a dark room
- Eye pain
- Severe redness in or around your eyes, discomfort, or changes in size.
- Loss of vision, especially side or peripheral vision. This may be an indication of a larger concern.
If it’s time to schedule an eye exam, CustomEyes has eight locations in and around Chicago for your convenience. Book your appointment today!
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