Eye Floater Removal
Eye floaters often look like black/gray specks, cobwebs, or strings that are within your field of vision. When you move your eyes around, they appear- but when you try to look directly at them, they dart away.
Most of the time, they are caused by changes in the vitreous humor in our eyes as we age. The microscopic fibers within the vitreous humor clump together, casting shadows on your retina- which appear as floaters.
If you notice that you are experiencing an increase in the occurrence of eye floaters, you need to immediately make an appointment with an eye specialist- especially if you are also experiencing a loss in peripheral vision or seeing flashes of light. This could indicate that you have an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately.
Causes of Eye Floaters
Eye floaters could be the result of the following:
- Changes in the eye due to aging: eye floaters are commonly the result of natural, age-related changes in the vitreous humor of the eye. Over time, the vitreous humor begins to liquefy, which causes it to pull away from the interior surface of the eye. As the vitreous humor is shrinking and sagging, it’s also getting clumpy and stringy. This debris then will block the light that is passing through your eye and you get shadows on your retina.
- Inflammation in the eye: in some cases, floaters are caused by posterior uveitis. This is a condition characterized by inflammation that occurs in the layers of the uvea in the back of your eye. This can cause eye floaters, which could be due to an infection or other inflammatory condition in your body.
- Bleeding in the eye: if you experience trauma to your eyes or have a blood vessel problem, it can cause your vitreous humor to bleed, which causes floaters.
- Retinal tear: when the sagging vitreous humor tugs too hard on the retina, it can cause the retina to become torn. If not treated, retinal tears can cause retinal detachment- which can lead to permanent vision loss.
Testing & Diagnosing Eye Floaters
If you are experiencing eye floaters and you’re concerned, make an appointment to visit an eye specialist- an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. If you have other complications, it’s best to see an ophthalmologist. He or she will do a complete eye exam, including dilating your eyes so that the back of your eyes can be seen. There are a few things you need to do in order to get ready for your appointment, including the following:
- Take the time to think about and write down the symptoms you are experiencing. If there are things that make the floaters better or worse, write those down too.
- Be sure to make a list of any supplements, vitamins, and medications that you are currently taking.
- Think about any questions or concerns you’d like to address with the doctor and write them down so that you don’t forget. After all, making a list of questions can help you to get the most benefit out of your appointment.
Here are a few basic questions that you should ask about eye floaters:
1. Why am I seeing floaters?
2. Will I always have to deal with them?
3. What can I do to keep from having more?
4. What treatments are available- and what are the risks of those treatments?
5. Is there any printed material I can take with me and review later? Do you recommend any websites to visit?
6. Will I need to schedule a follow-up appointment and when?
Of course, there are also some things that you should expect from your doctor. He or she will ask you a few questions, including the following:
- When did you first start noticing the floaters?
- Are the symptoms constant or do you only experience them occasionally?
- Have you recently seen an increase in the eye floaters?
- Are you experiencing flashes of light along with the floaters?
- Is there anything that makes them worse?
- Is there anything that makes them better?
- Have you ever had any type of eye surgery?
- Do you have underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes?
Treatment of Eye Floaters
In most cases, eye floaters do not require treatment. You can learn to live with them. Sure, it is probably going to be frustrating and it will definitely take some time. Still, there will come a point when you will not notice them as much and you may be able to ignore them all together.
Of course, there are some cases in which the floaters will have an effect on your vision. You should know that this is fairly rare, but when this occurs, your physician will consider a few treatment options. These options may include the following:
- Laser: your physician may use a laser to cause the floaters to become disrupted. This will help to make them where you don’t notice them as much. Some who have had laser treatment report an improvement in their vision and others notice little to no difference. You should be aware that using a laser to treat your floaters brings a risk of damage to your retina if it is not aimed properly.
- Surgery: in some cases, your physician may do surgery to remove the vitreous humor of your eye, replacing it with a solution to help maintain the natural shape of your eye. However, you must be aware that surgery may or may not remove all of the floaters and there’s a chance that you will develop more after surgery. Risks that come with surgery are retinal tears and bleeding.