There’s a dark splotch in your vision that won’t go away. It may be black or grey. It moves about. This is a floater. Dr. Brett Balocca at Eye On Health in Phoenix, AZ, tells you what you need to know about eye floaters.
What Are Floaters?
The vitreous humor is the thick fluid in your eyes. It has small strands that are attached to the retina. As we age, the vitreous humor becomes thinner, making it easier for the strands to stick together. When they do, they cast shadows on the retina, which we see as floaters.
Causes of Eye Floaters
The most common cause of floaters is being over the age of 50. Other causes include a bad blow to the head, injuries to the eye, eye infections, bleeding inside of the eye, cataracts, a retinal tear, or a retinal detachment. Some health conditions, like diabetes, can cause floaters.
Warning: Floaters and Flashes
Sometimes older people who have floaters also see quick flashes of light. These flashes can signal a retinal tear or retinal detachment. This warrants a trip to an eye doctor as soon as possible, since both retinal tears and retinal detachments can cause blindness. If flashes are soon accompanied by a migraine, then it’s possible that the flashes are auras, or a mild visual hallucination that some people with migraines get right before a migraine attack.
Risk Factors for Floaters
According to the National Eye Institute, people who are most at risk of getting floaters are seniors, diabetics, people with extreme myopia or nearsightedness, and people who recently underwent cataract surgery. People who recently suffered a blow to the head are also prone to seeing floaters.
Treatment for Floaters
Many times, there is no treatment for floaters. If they have been caused by an injury, then some may fade, become smaller, or go away entirely as the eye heals. Floaters caused by diseases like glaucoma or other eye health problems often only get better when the disease or other condition is treated.
Importance of Regular Eye Exams
Although it may be hard to believe, people quickly get used to floaters, not realizing that they could signal a condition that needs to be treated. Getting an annual eye care exam from an eye doctor or optometrist can spot problems like cataracts or even diabetes before vision becomes worse.
Still Have Questions?
If you have further questions about eye floaters and live in the Phoenix, AZ, area, contact Dr. Brett Balocca at Eye On Health by calling (480) 809-0550 to make an appointment today.