Do you have small spots or squiggles that drift across your field of vision? Do you notice them more when you look at something bright like the sky or a white sheet of paper? If so, you may have eye floaters.
What many people don’t realize is that eye floaters are dangerous signs of vision loss. Keep reading to learn more about this phenomenon and what you can do to treat it.
As their name indicates, floaters move around your field of vision. They come in a variety of shapes:
- Squiggly lines
- Threadlike strands
- Dark dots
Most floaters are flecks of collagen that come from the gel-like substance in the back of the eye called the vitreous. As you get older, these collagen fibers shrink and clump together. The floaters are actually the shadows they cast on your retina. Some patients report seeing flashes; this occurs when the vitreous pulls away from the retina.
Floaters may result from:
- Eye disease
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye tumors
- Bleeding in the vitreous
- Infection or an autoimmune condition
- Detached retina
When to Seek Medical Attention
Though floaters can be annoying, they are usually quite harmless. However, if you notice any of the following issues, see a doctor immediately:
- Sudden increase in number of floaters
- Flashes of light
- Pain in the eye
- Loss of side vision
- Floaters that appear after trauma or surgery
If you are experiencing just a few floaters, you can get them out of your field of vision by moving your eyes to shift the fluid around. Moving your eyes up and down is usually more effective that shifting them from side to side.
If your floaters are severe enough to impair your vision, your doctor may recommend vitrectomy surgery. This is a common floaters treatment in California that involves removing the vitreous fluid from the eye and replacing it with a salt solution. To date, over 100 eyes with significant floaters have undergone limited vitrectomy surgery.
This type of surgery sometimes requires an overnight stay at the hospital, but can also be done as an outpatient procedure. Vitrectomy generally lasts between two and three hours. After the procedure, you may need to position your head in a certain way for a period of time in order for the solution to take effect.
For more information about floaters treatment in California, call us to find out if surgery is a possibility for you.