What are Eye Floaters?
See tiny strings and dots floating in front of your eyes? These are eye floaters. Eye floaters are black or grey or transparent coloured net-like or hair-like images seen in front one or both eyes. They are more prominent on bright or plain backgrounds and tend to move with the movement of the eyes. They tend to clear out when you look at them directly. As annoying as they are, they do not usually interfere with the sight. They occur due to changes in the ‘vitreous’, the jelly-like substance present inside the eye.
What causes Eye Floaters?
Most eye floaters are age-related. When the vitreous starts to shrink, its microscopic fibres break away and can cast a shadow on your retina resulting in eye floaters. Mentioned below are a few of the common causes of eye floaters:
- Normal ageing process
- Bleeding in the eye secondary to any cause
- Break in the back layer if the eye called the ‘retina’
- Inflammatory conditions
- Retinal Detachment
- More prominent after cataract surgery
- Eye tumours, etc.
Can Eye Floaters lead to serious eye disorders?
When stable in number, they are usually a part of the normal ageing process. However, when they occur secondary to other conditions mentioned above, or there is a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters, it may lead to a decrease/ blurring of vision. In such cases, it is mandatory to get a detailed eye evaluation done including a retina checkup at the earliest.
What are the Eye Floaters symptoms to look out for?
The most common symptom is seeing a net-like image floating around in front of the eye. They can occur as early as the second decade, but usually occur after the fourth decade. Being an age-related process, they can occur in anyone, however are common in patients with myopia (short-sightedness), when secondary to bleeding they are seen in patients with advanced diabetic or hypertensive eye disease.
Usually, they are harmless but it’s important to consult with your eye doctor when
- they significantly increase in number
- they are associated with flashes of light
- they are associated with a decrease in vision
Can Eye Floaters be prevented?
It may not be possible to prevent the eye floaters, however following a few basic steps to maintain your eye health is always helpful:
- Get a comprehensive eye check up regularly
- Eat seasonal, healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Wear protective eyewear like sunglasses
- Give proper rest to your eyes
- Drink sufficient water
What are the regular Eye Floaters treatments?
Eye Floaters can mostly be ignored and generally does not require any treatment unless it can be associated with causes other than the normal ageing process. They usually fade away on their own or the patient tends to get adapted to them. However, if and when they get visually very disturbing they can be treated by an eye surgery called ‘Vitrectomy’. During a Vitrectomy, the specialist removes the vitreous and replaces it with a clear solution of the eye called ‘aqueous’.
Eye floaters are usually not an emergency, however, as mentioned earlier the warning signs should not be ignored. MMJEI has one of the largest, advanced and well-equipped Retina Department with an experienced team of Vitreoretinal surgeons, who deal with retina problems including floaters. Along with detailed and patient centric evaluation, we also educate the patient regarding the problem, show it to them with best imaging techniques which educates them when it comes to timely follow-up and early treatment when required.