eye floaters

4 Facts About Floaters

 

Have you ever noticed dark spots or lines drifting in your vision?

 

These are known as floaters, and they’re usually more apparent if you stare at a blank surface or a grey sky. Here are four interesting facts about floaters.

 

1. They’re actually shadows.

 

Eyes are filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous which, over time, slowly liquifies. This causes the microscopic fibres in the vitreous to clump together and cast shadows on your retina, thereby affecting your vision.

 

2. They’re a natural part of aging.

 

Since the vitreous in your eyes liquifies as you get older, floaters can become a common occurrence with age. While they’re most likely to develop among people who are very nearsighted, have diabetes or have had cataract surgery, many people experience floaters by the time they’re in their 60s.

 

3. They’re something your brain gets used to.

 

Floaters can be annoying or even distressing when they first appear. However, your brain learns to compensate for the shadows relatively quickly. This allows most people to live with floaters without the need for treatment.

 

4. They’re treatable.

 

In rare cases, floaters can become so dense that they severely impede vision. At this point, a vitrectomy may be recommended. This surgical procedure involves removing the vitreous through a small incision and replacing it with a saline solution. This can significantly reduce the occurrence of floaters. Alternatively, a laser can be used to break up clumps in the vitreous to make them less noticeable. However, there’s a risk of retinal damage if the laser isn’t aimed correctly.

 

When to contact an optometrist about floaters


If you’ve noticed a sudden increase in the frequency of floaters or they’ve started to impede your vision, you should consult your optometrist as soon as possible. This can be a sign of retinal detachment, which would need to be treated right away.

 

You should also see your eye doctor immediately if floaters appear suddenly after an injury or if they’re accompanied by blurred vision, eye pain or a dark shadow across your entire vision. These may be signs of an injury to the back of the eye, which can lead to permanent damage if not promptly treated.

 

Seek regular eye care in Edmonton


Even if your floaters are minimal and don’t affect your eyesight, it’s still a good idea to mention them to your optometrist during your next comprehensive eye exam. The team at Optometrists’ Clinic will assess your vision and offer advice or treatment if necessary. Contact us today to make an appointment in the greater Edmonton area.

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