Eye floaters resemble small spots that seem to be drifting in your field of vision. They can also look like black or grey specks, cobwebs, or strings that seem to dart away when you try to focus at them directly or are otherwise simply drifting when you move your eyes.
They are usually annoying and do not necessarily interfere with your sight. In case you have a large eye floater, then it may cast a slight shadow over your vision, which however only tends to happen in certain types of light.
All You Need to Know About Eye Floaters
What causes eye floaters?
Eye floaters can be caused either due to normal aging processes or may be due to certain diseases or conditions, which are:
Age related eye changes
The eyeball has a jelly – like fluid filling in called as the vitreous humor that helps in maintaining the eyeball its shape. As you age, the vitreous humor slightly liquifies thus causing it to pull away from the interior surface of the eyeball. The vitreous humor would then get stringy and some of this may eventually block some of the light passing through the eye. This is what leads to the appearance of small shadows on your retina, known as eye floaters.
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Bleeding in the eye
Bleeding into the vitreous humor can be due to diabetes, injury, blocked blood vessels, hypertension, etc. Blood cells here are seen as eye floaters.
Inflammation in the back of the eye
Inflammation in the layers of uvea at the back of the eye is called posterior uveitis and this can cause the release of inflammatory debris into the vitreous humor, seen as eye floaters. It can be caused due to infections or other inflammatory diseases, etc.
Retina can tear when the sagging vitreous humor would tug on the retina with quite a lot of force thus, tearing it. If not intervened, then this can lead to retinal detachment and eventually permanent loss in vision.
Eye surgeries and medication
Certain eye surgeries would add silicone oil bubbles into the vitreous humor thus giving rise to eye floaters. Certain eye medication where it is injected into the vitreous humor can cause air bubbles to form within and form eye floaters.
There are certain risk factors associated with eye floaters, such as:
- People above 50 years of age
- Eye trauma
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye inflammation
- Complications from cataract surgery
What are the symptoms of eye floaters?
Some symptoms seen in eye floaters are:
- Small shadows in your field of vision that look like dark specks, or squiggly lines, thread – like strands which can be knobby, rings or cobwebs even.
- These spots appear to dart away when you try to focus on them.
- These spots are more visible when you look at a plain bright background, like a blue sky or white wall.
When should you see a doctor?
If you experience eye floaters in your vision, you need not panic as they would usually be ignorable over time. You should however consult an eye specialist immediately when you notice any of the following symptoms:
- A sudden increase in the number of eye floaters
- Sudden flashes of light seen
- Peripheral loss of vision (darkness on any side or sides of your vision)
- Eye pain
If you ignore these symptoms for long then it can lead to certain serious conditions.
Treatment for eye floaters
Treatment of eye floaters depend on the type of floaters. The benign eye floaters usually do not require any surgery and you can learn to live with it.
If you however have several eye floaters that pose a problem by blocking your field of vision, then the eye specialist can suggest you a surgery called a vitrectomy. Here, all of the vitreous humor will be removed and will be replaced by a salt solution.
Laser therapy can also be suggested that involves aiming the lasers at the eye floaters. The laser would break the floaters and thus reduce their pressure. This procedure is not preferred method of treatment as it is still experimental. If the lasers are aimed incorrectly, then they can cause damage to the retina.
Home remedies for eye floaters
You can learn to deal with your benign eye floaters by the following ways:
Gently massage your temples and keep your eye closed, with a warm cloth covered over your closed eyes.
Perform some eye – exercises
Roll your eyes in circular motions clockwise and then counter – clockwise. Repeat this a few times a day.
You can also perform another exercise by holding an object, such as a pen as far away as possible and focusing on it . then bring the object closer to your face, all the while focusing on the object. Repeat this a few times.
Drink plenty of water
Water is an excellent agent to detox the body and sometimes eye floaters can be due to toxin accumulation.
Eat anti – oxidant rich foods
Anti – oxidant rich foods such as, blueberries, kale, pomegranate, strawberries, oranges, etc. can help fight off the free radical damage.
Yoga helps you to reduce stress and relax. Since many of the movements requires the eyes to be closed it is an effective way for relaxing your eyes.
Eye floaters seem to be small shadows that appear in your field of vision. They can be squiggly shaped, or as dark specs or cobweb shaped or rings shaped. These generally are caused due to aging processes where the vitreous humor which was originally jelly – like, slightly liquifies and forms the floaters. They can also be caused due to eye inflammation or bleeding in the eye or eye injury among other causes.
The symptoms associated with eye floaters are appearance of dark specks, the floaters seem to float away when you try to focus on them and they are more prominently visible when you are looking at a plan, bright background.
The treatment for eye floaters depends on the type – the benign ones are usually untreated and can be manageable when you relax, do some yoga, do some eye exercises, massage your temples, eat anti – oxidant rich foods and drink plenty of water. The more severe type of eye floaters may however need a surgery, vitrectomy.