Eye floaters are often recognized as small spots, shadows, and shapes that drift across your visual field. Usually black and gray, these floating string-like shapes, while not always a cause for concern, should be discussed with your eye doctor in order to monitor and note.
When the vitreous of your eye, the jelly-like substance that keeps your eye plump, develops into a more liquid consistency it can often start to clump. While these microscopic clumps might seem too tiny to create an issue, when they float around your eye they cast shadows on your retina that are known as floaters.
Because these small clumps of vitreous move around as your eyes do, you will be unable to look at them directly. They may also appear to come and go since they can reposition to areas of your eyes where shadows are not created as a result of eye movement.
Here at Medical Arts Eye Clinic & Optical, we understand that changes in your eye function and vision can be concerning. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to target your eye issues and treat them in the most effective way.Causes
While there is not a singular disease of infection that directly causes the development of eye floaters, some may be more at risk than others. While it may feel unnecessary if you have not experienced any major eye changes, annual visits to the eye doctor are vital to catching potential eye floater causes early.
Those with the following may be at higher risk to develop eye floaters:
- Over the age of 50
- Eye rubbing
- Eye Injury
- Eye inflammation
- Current or previous eye cataracts
Eye floaters can slowly progress or appear out of nowhere. While it is always a good idea to visit an eye doctor when any changes occur, you should immediately make an appointment with professionals like us at Medical Arts Eye Clinic & Optical if one or more of the following occur:
- The sudden appearance of eye floaters
- An instant increase in eye floaters
- Other changes in your eye such as flashes or vision loss
- Loss of sight in your peripheral vision
When visiting the eye doctor for any reason a vision exam will most likely take place. This is no different for an eye floater concern. The vision test will allow the doctor to see if there has been a change in vision, depth perception, and color recognition that may help to diagnose an underlying issue.
Along with the vision exam, in order to diagnose the presence of eye floaters, your eye will also be dilated using drops. The dilation of the eye will expand your pupil allowing for more internal visibility. Once the pupil has widened, the doctor will examine the inside and back of the eye to determine the cause and existence of the vitreous clumps.Treatments
The treatment of eye floaters is unique to their cause.
Once the exam and diagnosis have been made, if any underlying cause such as other eye illnesses exist they should be discovered. If other eye issues or illnesses are discovered they will be medicated or treated first, which can potentially decrease or eliminate the presence of eye floaters.
For some, there may not be a reversible cause. For example, those with aging as the cause are usually not treated unless the vision impairment is extreme. For those with a more advanced case of eye floaters that cause vision issues or daily interference, vitrectomy surgery, where the vitreous is removed and replaced with a similar substance, may be recommended.
According to the National Eye Institute, this invasive surgery is usually reserved for more severe cases due to the recovery time and process, but once healed the presence of eye floaters should be non-existent.
Here at Medical Arts Eye Clinic & Optical, we are committed to providing quality care at your convenience. As committed professionals in the Auburn-Opelika area, your eye health and comfort are our top priority. If any eye changes or issues occur, our full-time ophthalmologist will take the necessary time and research to examine your eyes, diagnose potential causes, and discuss in detail the best treatment options for you.
No matter your eye concern, request an appointment with us today so that we can put you and your family on the best optical path possible.