Floaters

Floaters

Floaters are small “cobwebs” or specks that drift about in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. They do not follow your eye movements precisely, and usually drift when your eyes stop moving.

When this happens, microscopic fibers within the vitreous humor tend to clump together and can cast tiny shadows on your retina, which you may see as eye floaters.

Most people have floaters and learn to ignore them; they are usually not noticed until they become numerous or more prominent. Floaters can become apparent when looking at something bright, such as white paper or a blue sky.

If you notice a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters, contact an ophthalmologist promptly especially if you also see flashes of light or lose your peripheral vision. These can be symptoms of a retinal tear or a retinal detachment, which requires immediate attention.

Symptoms

Eye floaters may look like dark specks or knobby, transparent strings of material floating within your field of vision. These specks and strings move when you move your eyes, so when you try to look at them, they move quickly out of your visual field. In most cases, the floaters eventually settle down to the bottom of the vitreous cavity out of the line of vision. In rare instances, eye floaters can become so numerous that they significantly interfere with your vision.

Eye floaters are most noticeable when you look at a plain bright background such as a blue sky or a white wall. They can be a nuisance but most people learn to ignore them.

Treatment

Most eye floaters require no treatment. If your eye floaters are so numerous that they significantly interfere with your vision, your doctor might suggest a surgical procedure (vitrectomy) that uses a hollow needle to withdraw the vitreous humor from your eye.

Floaters 2

On rare occasions, floaters can be so dense and numerous that they significantly affect vision. In these cases, a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure that removes floaters from the vitreous, may be needed.

The vitreous humor is replaced with a saltwater solution. However, this procedure can cause a retinal detachment and cataract, and it may not remove all floaters.

This operation carries significant risks to sight because of possible complications, which include retinal detachment, retinal tears, and cataract. Most eye surgeons are reluctant to recommend this surgery unless the floaters seriously interfere with vision.

Specializing in Cataracts and Eyelid Surgery