You’ve likely been warned about floaters (those bright little dots that only you can see, which last for a few seconds), especially if you have a high prescription. But are they really so serious? Floaters may occur for a number of reasons, but they aren’t always emergency situations. Keep reading to learn about floaters and some of the myths about them.
Floaters are Always Bad
Floaters do not always spell disaster. Though you may worry about them, sometimes they are completely harmless. Most of the time, they simply float around in your vision for a few seconds and then disappear. They can occur as dots, webs, or squiggly lines. They often disappear as gently as they arrive, and don’t mean anything more serious.
Floaters Mean You Will Go Blind
Floaters do not automatically mean that you are going to lose your vision, and they don’t mean that you must rush to the hospital for a medical emergency. Just as the rest of us ages, our eyes do, too. Loosened cells that occur as the eye ages often cause the little floating dots or lines in your vision, and will resolve themselves (sometimes over a few days). Those of us who are very nearsighted, have diabetes, or who have had a cataract operation are more likely to have floaters. If they obstruct your vision, then it is time to consult a physician.
Floaters are Harmless
Unfortunately, sometimes floaters can be a sign of a serious eye issue. If your eye doctor has specifically warned you about floaters, keep that advice in mind. In certain patients, floaters may mean something serious is happening, especially if they remain longer than normal.
Keep in mind that floaters accompanied by flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision could be a sign of retinal detachment. This is a serious issue that could cause permanent vision loss. If you see floaters with flashes of light, please call your physician right away.