What is Eye Floaters?
What is Eye Floaters? Eye Floaters are shadows of small to large objects that seem to hover in sight. The size of floaters can vary, ranging from small black spots to larger shadows such as long ropes. Floaters usually appear when someone sees bright light like the sun or stares at the base color like white for too long.
Generally, floaters occur due to the age factor. In the normal eye, light enters through the lens and cornea of the eye and continues towards the retina located at the back of the eye. Between the front and back of the eye there is a slimy mucous fluid that serves to maintain the shape of the eyeball, called vitreous. As we get older, the viscosity of vitreous will decrease, and will begin to appear the remains of the puddles that pool in them. The rest of the floating debris is what appears to be floaters.
Regardless of age, there are several factors that can lead to floaters such as eye injury, nearsightedness, eye inflammation, infection, diabetes complications, retinal tears, intraocular tumors, or migraines.
Eye Floaters Symptoms
Generally, floaters do not cause pain but may be able to interfere with excessive vision. Symptoms of floaters that are classified as harmless are like looking at small spots or lines like the shadow of a strap on the eye, and still there following the flow of vision for some time. However, if you experience unusual symptoms such as freckles or rope shadows being resized, seeing flashes of light, angular visibility, blurred vision to experience eye pain, it is advisable to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Eye Floaters Causes
Eye Floaters can be caused by various conditions, among others:
- Age. As you get older, your eye condition changes. Vitreous fluid which initially has a supple consistency to keep the ball form over time will melt and lose its elasticity. As a result, the vitreous will shrink, and some parts of the inner eyeballs will be attracted. As the vitreous shrinks and grows denser, will begin to appear the remnants of loose dirt that eventually block the path of vision.
- Bleeding in the eyes. There are several things that can cause bleeding in the vitreous, such as direct trauma to the eye or during interference with the blood vessels in the eye, as occurs in the case of diabetic retinopathy.
- Inflammation of the back of the eye. This condition is also referred to as posterior uveitis, where the uvea layer (the lining in the eyeball) experiences inflammation due to infection.
- Retinal tear. These retinal tears can occur when the shrunken vitreus is able to pull out the retinal lining. If not treated promptly, this retinal tear will lead to retinal detachment, which may be at risk for blindness.
Eye Floaters Diagnosis
If you are having an unusual Eye floaters problem, it is advisable to see an ophthalmologist. Explain fully about the symptoms and history of your disease (especially the eyes) to make it easier for doctors to diagnose. If your doctor finds symptoms severe, especially with regard to the retina (which is rare), your doctor may perform several tests such as:
- Physical tests. The doctor will see your retinal activity through the pupil and monitor the size of the small when exposed to light. If not directly diagnosed, the doctor will use eye drops to dilate the pupil and allow the doctor to check the condition. In addition, the doctor may also use a tool called slit lamp along with bright lighting to examine the inside of the eye. Usually after a test with the help of eye drops or slit lamp, your vision will feel blurry or glare for several hours. It is advisable not to drive or do activities outside the room until the sense of the glare subsided.
- Tonometric Test. If necessary, a tonometric test or an eye-checking test may be performed to assess the ability and strength of the patient’s eye (intraocular pressure).
Eye Floaters Treatment
Eye Floaters usually do not require special treatment because it can disappear by itself. However, if the levels of floaters are considered to be very disturbing vision, there are several treatment options that doctors usually recommend, such as:
- Laser Therapy. The doctor will direct a special laser beam on the body of the glass (vitreous humor) to destroy the floaters into smaller particles, so as not to interfere with vision. This therapy should be done with care as it may damage the retina if laser guidance is not appropriate.
- Vitrectomy. If laser therapy is not much help, vitrectomy surgery can be an option for people with floaters. This operation is performed by lifting the glass body along with floating small grains and replacing them with sterile saline. Before performing a vitrectomy surgery, it is advisable to consult with a physician first in order to know the risks and possible side effects.
Eye Floaters Complications
Eye Floaters generally do not cause complications, but the risk may increase when patients take vitrectomy surgery steps, such as:
- Tears and bleeding in the retina
- Ablation or removal of the retina from the eye
Immediately see a doctor if you experience complications or feel unusual differences after performing surgery or other therapies.
Eye Floaters Prevention
Eye Floaters generally can not be prevented. However, you are advised to check eye health in optics or eye clinics at least every 2 years to determine the health status of your eyes. Examination also serves to ensure that floaters are not a symptom of a more serious condition that can damage eyesight.