Floaters are odd shapes or effects that appear in your field of vision. They are actually really common, and in most cases, they don’t pose a problem. However, in some cases, they can signal bigger issues. To safeguard the health of your eyes, it’s important to understand what floaters are and when they might be a sign of a serious issue.
What Do Vision Floaters Look Like?
Have you ever seen a spot or a thread of material appear in front of your eyes? It looks like something is stuck to your contact lens, but it happens when you’re not wearing contact lens. That is a floater.
They often look like cobwebs or even a haze as if you’re looking through fog. They tend to show up when you’re looking at a plain white background or a bright object. These floaters are usually benign clumps of collagen and protein floating in the vitreous of your eye and casting shadows on your retina.
What Is the Vitreous?
The vitreous is a layer of clear fluid. It’s 99 percent water and a little bit of collagen, protein, salt, and sugar. This mixture gives the vitreous a gelatinous texture, and as you get older, this fluid-filled layer starts to shrink. That pulls the non-water elements of this layer closer together, and as a result, they start to become more noticeable.
Who Gets Floaters?
Vision floaters tend to be the most common in older patients. In fact, with most patients over the age of 55, the vitreous layer usually detaches from the retina, and in some cases, the retina tears which makes the condition worse. Floaters tend to be more common in people who are nearsighted. Additionally, if the back of your eye suffers any damage, that can also lead to vision floaters.
What Happens If you Get a Retinal Tear?
In some cases, as the vitreous moves away from the retina, the fibers pull too hard, and the retina tears. At that point, some of the fluid from the vitreous may sneak into the retina and cause it to start peeling. If you have a retinal tear, you may suddenly start to get a lot of flashes and floaters. Your vision may become shadowy as if a grey curtain is moving past your eyes. This is a medical emergency and you need to contact a specialist as soon as possible.
What Are Flashes?
Flashes and floaters are often grouped together because they are both related to the vitreous layer of your eye. Flashes are flashes of light that appear in the corner of your eye, especially when you move from a well-lit space to a darker space.
Can You Get Rid of Vision Floaters?
If the vision floaters are becoming overwhelming, it is possible to remove them. Utilizing microsurgical techniques, our retina surgery specialist, Dr. Robert Reinauer, creates three very tiny incisions in your eye and remove the floaters. This procedure is a pars plana vitrectomy.
If you have flashes or floaters, you can get help at New Vision Eye Center. We provide world class eye care to residents of Vero Beach, Florida and the surrounding area. Contact us today online, or call 772-257-8700 for a consultation.