Floaters

Do you ever see spots or specks moving across your field of vision?  Most likely they are floaters.   

What are floaters?

Our eyes are filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called the vitreous.  With age, the vitreous can shrink and become more liquid-like.  This causes the cells of the vitreous to clump together.  When light enters the eye, light may hit these clumped cells and cast a shadow on the retina, creating floaters.  When the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye, it is called a posterior vitreous detachment, which can also create the appearance of floaters.  So even though floaters may appear as something you see in front of the eye, these cells are actually floating inside the eye.  Floaters may appear as spots, lines, circles, or cob-webs, and may be stationary or move across your field of vision.  They may be more noticeable when looking at something plain such as a white wall or a blue sky.  Age is the most common cause of floaters, although people of any age may experience them.  Other risk factors include nearsightedness, eye surgery, or eye injury.  Most floaters are benign and there is rarely any treatment performed.   Over time, they usually fade and they become less noticeable.  However, there are times when a floater can be a sign of a more serious condition.  

You should see your eye doctor right away when you notice any of these symptoms:

-a new or sudden increase of floaters

-gradual worsening of a floater

 -flashes of light

 -a shadow appearing in your side, peripheral vision

  -a gray curtain covering part of your vision

If you experience any of these symptoms, do not ignore them and get checked by your eye doctor immediately.  These symptoms could be a sign of a detached or torn retina, a very serious condition that needs urgent treatment.  If you have any doubt as to whether the floaters and flashes you’re seeing are a sign of something serious, do not hesitate to talk with your eye doctor.

 

Chelsea Eye Associates