You probably don't notice them most of the time, but you're likely to have little moving shapes passing in front of your vision from time to time. They’re called floaters and are generally harmless, but board-certified ophthalmologists Jay Thompson, MD, and Phelan Piehota, DO, at Lowcountry Eye Specialists in Ladson, South Carolina, can make sure for you. They check for problems like a torn or detached retina and treat the condition swiftly to preserve your sight. To check the cause of your floaters, call Lowcountry Eye Specialists today or book an appointment online.
Floaters are small clouds or dark specks that move around your field of vision. They may look like squiggly lines, cobwebs, or floating bugs, and though they appear to be in front of your eyes, they're actually floating inside. Floaters are often more noticeable if you're looking at a clear blue sky or a blank wall.
Floaters are usually just part of the natural process of aging. As you get older, the vitreous — a clear gel-like substance within your eyeball — tends to shrink a little and separate from your retina (the light-sensitive nerve layer at the back of your eye).
You might also get flashes, where you see flashing lights rather than moving specks. These flashes appear as the vitreous on your retina detaches, creating twinkles like stars or lightning streaks. It's the same thing that happens if you suffer a blow to your eye and see stars.
In most cases, floaters don't need treatment as they aren't harmful. However, they can be annoying.
If you get floaters when you're trying to read or need to see clearly, try looking up and down to shift the floaters out of your field of vision. Some may remain, but floaters often fade over time.
There aren't any medicines or eye drops that can reduce or remove common eye floaters.
In all but a small number of cases, floaters aren't a sign of anything wrong with your eyes. However, they can sometimes indicate you have a retinal tear.
As the vitreous shrinks and pulls on your retina, the force is occasionally great enough to cause a tear. Torn retinas are a serious problem that can lead to retinal detachment and potentially loss of sight.
Therefore, if you notice any dramatic change in your floaters — for example, you're seeing showers of floaters or particularly large ones — call Lowcountry Eye Specialists. You should also contact them if you see sudden flashes of light or suffer the loss of side vision.
Lowcountry Eye Specialists only performs surgery to remove floaters if a patient has a large amount of blood or debris within their eye. They don't use surgery in patients with common floaters, as it involves making multiple incisions in the eye and performing a vitrectomy (removing the vitreous inside your eye).
If your floaters are particularly bothersome or you notice any changes in the quantity or appearance of your floaters, call Lowcountry Eye Specialists or request an appointment online today.