Eye floaters

Eye floaters are spots present in the vision of the individual. These are gray or black strings or specks that float around when the eyes are moved. Most cases occur due to age-related changes once the vitreous which is a gel-like substance within the eyes loses consistency and becomes more liquid. As an outcome, the microscopic fibers within the vitreous clump together resulting to small-sized shadows on the retina.

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If there is an abrupt increase in the number of eye floaters, a doctor must be consulted right away.

What are the causes?

  • Age – the usual cause for eye floaters is the age-related changes in the vitreous. It is important to note that the vitreous helps maintain the round shape of the eye. As one starts to age, there is a change in its consistency where it liquefies resulting to shrinkage.

    Eye floaters
    The eye floaters appear as spots in the vision that are dark-colored specks or transparent strings of debris floating around.
  • Inflammation – if there is inflammation in the posterior region of the eye, this can cause eye floaters
  • Trauma or injury – any form of damage or injury to the eye or blood vessel conditions can result to bleeding in the eye that can cause floaters.
  • Retinal tear – tears to the retina can cause floaters to appear.

What are the risk factors?

  • Individuals aged over 50
  • Eye injuries or trauma
  • Nearsightedness
  • Complications from cataract surgery
  • Individuals with diabetic retinopathy
  • Eye inflammation

Indications of eye floaters

  • The eye floaters appear as spots in the vision that are dark-colored specks or transparent strings of debris floating around.
  • These spots move during eye movement. If the individual tries to focus on them, they move out of the field of vision.
  • The floaters become evident if the individual looks at a plain, bright background such as white wall.
  • They gradually settle and move away from the field of vision

Management

In most cases of eye floaters, treatment is not required since they do not cause any disruption in the vision of the individual. Even though learning to live with them might take time, the floaters become less noticeable once the individual learns to ignore them.

Treatment is only needed if the eye floaters disrupts vision but this rarely occurs. If there are large-sized or numerous, it makes it difficult for the individual to perform daily activities. In such cases, treatment is required.

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