What are the eye floaters?
Floaters are shapes of cords or a small black dots moving around your sight field. They can also be described as wires or stains that run when you move your eyes and look like they are moving away when you are trying to catch them directly. We often see floaters while we are looking in a bright background such as a white wall or blue sky.
These spots are actually small amounts of collagen in vitreous (this clear liquid resembles a gel that fills the eye cavity). They are a common occurrence that comes with aging because the vitreous tends to huddle due to the degradation of collagen fibers. Besides aging, other risk factors that can lead to eye floaters also can be myopia, diabetes, recent eye trauma, surgery, migraine, any kind of inflammation in the eyes.
If you spot a sudden development in eye floaters, contact an eye specialist immediately – especially if you see the light blinking or losing peripheral vision. These can be symptoms of an emergency situation that requires urgent attention.
Eye floaters symptoms may occur as:
– Small dark spots, transparent lines of floating material in your sight;
– Objects that move when you move your sight and seems like you can not catch them ;
– Areas that are most striking when you look at a transparent, bright background;
– Small shapes or wires that finally settle down and leave the visible line;
Eye floaters are a common occurrence. However, you should contact a doctor if you notice an unusual concentration, sudden emergence of new floaters, followed by flashing light or obscurity or loss of peripheral vision.
These painless symptoms may be caused by retinal clefts, with or without retinal detachment – a condition that threatens vision and requires immediate attention.
What causes them?
This phenomenon can be caused by a normal process of aging but also as a result of other complications:
Changes caused by aging. As already explained, during aging, the glass or gelatinous substance that fills your eyeballs changes. Over time, vitreous tissue is partially intertwined – a process that causes it to withdraw from the inner surface of the eyeball. As this tissue handles, it becomes harsh. This part blocks the part of the light that should pass through the eye, throwing little shadows on your retina, and you see floaters.
Uveitis inflammation occurs in the back eye layer. This condition can affect the release of inflammatory remains into vitreous that is seen as floating objects. It can be caused by infection, inflammatory diseases, or other causes.
Eye bleeding, especially in the vitreous tissue, can have many causes, including diabetes, hypertension, blocked blood vessels, and injuries. Blood cells also can be seen as floaters.
Torn retina. Cuts on the retina may occur when the vitreous retrieval of the retina is withdrawn with enough force to split it. Without the right treatment, a retinal cutting may lead to a retinal detachment – accumulation of fluid behind the retina, affecting it to separate from the back of the eye. The untreated retina can cause permanent loss of vision.
Surgery and medicines. Some medications injected into the vitreous can cause the formation of air bubbles. A person with such a problem will spot them as shadows at first until the eye absorbs them. Certain vitreoretinal surgeries may add silicone oil bubbles to the vitreous tissue, that can also represent a kind of eye floater.
Ask the full examination from the specialist, including eye dilatation, to determine the cause.
How to treat eye floaters?
Any major cause of eye floaters, like bleeding, diabetes, or inflammation, can be treated. However, most of the floating eyes do not require treatment. They can be annoying, and their adjustment may take some time. When you know they will not cause more problems, you may eventually be able to ignore eye floaters or notice them less.
If you got the swimming eye, which is rarely occurring, yet, consider the treatment. Options may include:
Vitrectomy – a surgery that will require removal of vitreous tissue. Ophthalmologist removes vitreous tissue through a small cut and replaces it with a solution that supports retain its shape. Surgery may not remove all floating objects, and new ones may develop after. Risks of vitrectomy include bleeding and tears on the retina.
Laser treatment. The ophthalmologist points a specific laser to the eye floaters, with a purpose to break them down and make less visible. Some people who have this treatment report better vision; Others notice little or no difference. Risk of laser therapy involves retinal damage if the laser is wrong. That is why this kind of treatment is rarely used.
If you are worried about eye floaters or had complications that require treatment, make an appointment with specialist – optometrist or ophthalmologist. It is wise to write down all the symptoms and prepare yourself for a clinical examination. Make a list of all the drugs, vitamins, and supplements you take. This will significantly help to diagnose your problem and fix it quickly.