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Causes of Eye Floaters

Causes of Eye Floaters

May 12, 2022
Causes of Eye Floaters

The causes of eye floaters link to the aging process or as a result of other conditions. Eye floaters appear as small spots that drift through your field of vision. They may stand out when you look at something bright and might annoy you, but they do not interfere with your sight. If you have a large floater, it can cast a slight shadow over your vision. But this tends to happen only in certain types of light.

What are the Symptoms of Eye Floaters?

  • Small shapes in your vision that appear as dark specks
  • Spots that move when you move your eyes
  • Spots that move quickly out of your visual field
  • Spots that are most noticeable when you look at a plain bright background
  • Small shapes or strings that eventually settle down and drift out of the line of vision

Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms:

  • Many more eye floaters than usual
  • Sudden onset of new floaters
  • Flashes of light in the same eye as the floaters
  • Darkness on any side or sides of your vision

What are the Causes of Eye Floaters?

  • Age-related eye changes. As you age, the jelly-like substance that fills your eyeballs and keeps them round changes. Over time, the vitreous partially liquefies. Floaters occur when the vitreous clumps up and become stringy as it shrinks and sags. This debris blocks some of the light passing through your eye, causing tiny shadows to appear on your retina.
  • Inflammation in the back of the eye. Posterior uveitis is a type of inflammation in which inflammatory debris is released into the vitreous and causes floaters to form in the eye. Posterior uveitis may be caused by infection, inflammatory diseases, or other causes.
  • Bleeding in the eye. Many factors can cause blood to leak into the vitreous, including diabetes, hypertension, blocked blood vessels, and injury. Blood cells are seen as floaters.
  • Torn retina. Retinal tears can occur when a sagging vitreous tug on the retina with enough force to tear it. When left untreated, retinal tears may lead to retinal detachment or an accumulation of fluid behind the retina which causes it to separate from the back of your eye. Untreated retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.
  • Eye surgeries and eye medications. Certain medications that are injected into the vitreous can cause air bubbles to form. These bubbles are seen as shadows until your eye absorbs them.

Treatment for Eye Floaters

Any underlying cause of the floaters, such as bleeding from diabetes or inflammation, will be treated. If your eye floaters impair your vision, which happens rarely, your eye doctor may consider treatment. Options may include:

  • Surgery to remove the vitreous. An ophthalmologist removes the vitreous through a small incision and replaces it with a solution to help your eye maintain its shape.
  • Using a laser to disrupt the floaters. An ophthalmologist aims a special laser at the floaters in the vitreous, which may break them up and make them less noticeable. Some people who have this treatment report improved vision.
  • Eyedrops. Using eyedrop to relieve the pressure that is caused by other factors may reduce floaters. Eyedrops may also treat other vision problems such as glaucoma. You can use any of the following:

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