Of all the eye conditions people tend to develop, eye floaters are among the most common. Still, many people are distressed and confused when they appear, and they’re not sure whether they should see an eye doctor or simply wait it out. If it ever happens to you, it’s useful to understand what’s happening and what can be done about it.
What Are Floaters & Why Are They There?
As their name implies, eye floaters appear as shadowy spots, strings, webs, rings, or lines hovering in your vision. They seem to slide away when your eye is still, then flit to the side when you try to look at them directly. Although it seems like they’re just out of reach, they’re actually inside the gel of your eyeball. The gel, which is called the vitreous body, sometimes becomes more liquid-like in texture, and the protein fibers press themselves into strands that block your retina and cast shadows.
Like many eye conditions, floaters are most likely to develop as you age, especially if you’re at least 50 years old and have cataracts, diabetes, or nearsightedness. Smokers are also more prone to them. However, certain injuries or illnesses may also produce them, such as retinal tears, internal bleeding, infections, or inflammation in the tissue. Even eye procedures that are meant to be helpful, like cataract surgery, can cause floaters—at least temporarily.
What Can You Do About Them?
In most cases, floaters are a little irritating but ultimately harmless, and there’s no reliable eye care secret that can make them go away. However, you should see an eye doctor immediately if the floaters appear abruptly and in high volumes, or if they become so thick that they significantly affect your ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. The doctor may recommend eye surgery that extracts the protein fibers from the vitreous, clearing your vision. Since there’s a possibility that this procedure can result in retinal issues or infections, it’s considered an emergency eye treatment only.
You may be able to avoid having to deal with floaters in the first place by keeping your weight down through exercise, sleeping regularly, and eating minimal sugar so that you don’t develop or worsen diabetes. If you smoke, make an effort to quit so that your body becomes more effective at withstanding infection and inflammation. Of course, it’s also essential to see your eye doctor at least once a year so that they can treat or prevent eye conditions that can produce floaters.
Based in Ashland, KY, Tri-State Ophthalmology has been helping patients cope with floaters and heal from other eye conditions since 1963. Offering everything from routine eye exams to crucial surgeries with their state-of-the-art technology and up-to-date eye care techniques, they’re committed to ensuring your long-term optical health. On top of that, every treatment plan is customized to your needs, preferences, and budget. Make an appointment by calling (606) 324-2451, and explore their services online.