Eye Floaters

What Are Eye Floaters and How Do You Treat Them?

Doctor, I have tadpoles in my vision!! 

Several patients may have experienced a time when they thought they had gnats flying around them, swatted and nothing was there. Patients often wonder what on earth are these things floating around in my vision, and why do they happen? 

What is a floater?

Floaters are a natural aging change that occur in the eyes. They look like small clumps or cobwebs appearing in front of your eye even though they are actually inside of the eye. 

Why do floaters happen?

The eye is full of gel, and as we have more birthdays that gel begins to liquefy. As the gel turns into a liquid, some of the gel will clump together forming a “floater.” These floaters then cast a shadow on the retina which makes the patient to see them. Overtime the floaters may begin to settle and your brain will adapt to them so you notice them less often. The floaters may be more noticeable when looking at a bright, blank white wall or on an overcast day. 

Are floaters bad?

Floaters can be a nuisance but most of the time they are nothing to worry about; however, if you ever notice several new floaters as if someone threw pepper into your vision or you notice a curtain/vail over any part of your vision, you would need to visit your primary eye doctor immediately to make sure you are not having a retinal detachment. 

Who gets floaters?

Everyone develops floaters over time. Some patients notice them sooner than others, however, everyone will develop and likely notice them at some point in life. 

Is there a treatment for floaters?

Most of the time patients will adapt to the floaters because their brain will start to ignore them. If the floaters are large enough and the patient is symptomatic, the patient may be sent out for a laser treatment that helps break up the large floater. There is also a procedure where the gel inside of the eye can be completely removed by a retinal surgeon to eliminate the floaters. Your primary eye care provider will be able to discuss different options with you after your dilated eye exam to determine which option is best for you. 

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