Do you see little lines and spots swimming through your line of vision? Do they sometimes look like dark specks or little cobwebs? You’re probably seeing eye floaters. This is a common condition that many people learn to ignore unless they develop in larger volume or become more prominent. If many new floaters begin to appear suddenly and all at once, this could indicate retinal detachment, meaning that part of the retina has been lifted from its normal position at the back wall of the eye. If left untreated, this can lead to vision impairment, but for the most part, eye floaters are not a risk to your vision and don’t require treatment.
What causes eye floaters?
Floaters happen when the vitreous, a clear gel that fills the space between the lens and the retina of the eyeball, slowly starts to shrink. When this happens, it becomes stringy, and these strands can emit tiny shadows on the retina called floaters. Eye floaters are a part of aging and are also common in people who are very nearsighted, who have had cataract surgery, or who have diabetes. While they can be distracting, they usually end up settling below your line of sight.
Treating eye floaters
There aren’t any recommended treatments for eye floaters. They’re usually nothing more than an annoyance. In very few cases, however, floaters can be so numerous that they affect vision considerably. When this is the case, it may warrant a surgical procedure to remove the floaters from the vitreous (called a vitrectomy). This process involves removing the vitreous gel and the floating debris from the eye and replacing it with a salt solution. Vitrectomy is not widely done unless eye floaters seriously interfere with vision because it carries possible complications such as retinal detachment, retinal tears, and cataract.
To make sure your eyes stay healthy, visit your eye doctor annually for a comprehensive eye exam. And if you notice floaters or other vision changes, be sure to tell your doctor. You can also learn more about receiving treatment for glaucoma, cataracts or LASIK in Chicago, by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Sondheimer online or by calling: (847) 677-2794