Eye Floaters: Diagnosis, Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment
At some point as you age, particularly after age 40 and beyond, you may see wispy, cobweb-like threads drifting around in your field of vision when looking at a large expanse of the same color, like the blue sky. When your eye moves, those threads move too. At Swan Family Optometry, your eye care office here in Fair Oaks, CA, our eye doctors Dr. Elisabeth Swan and Dr. Tracy Chan know how troubling this experience can be, and can help.
What Is an Eye Floater?
Although there are different kinds of floaters, generally a floater is the result of changes that take place in the vitreous body of your eye. This vitreous is the clear and gel-like space between the lens and the retina. It helps the eye keep its round shape. With age, the vitreous begins to shrink. Threads shred away from the vitreous body, clump together, and drift around in the vitreous. When these drifting threads pass into our line of vision they are very noticeable. These are floaters.
Eye Floater Symptoms
While usually harmless, floaters can actually be a symptom of a more serious eye condition, such as retinal detachment, retinal tears, or posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Call your optometrist if you experience any of the following:
- Spots that move when you move your eyes, including moving out of your vision field
- Flashes of light in the same eye as the floater
- Increase in the size of, or number of floaters
- Loss of peripheral (side) vision
- Darkened area in your vision field
How Are Floaters Diagnosed?
Your optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye examination which, in addition to a complete evaluation of all eye structures, includes a discussion of your general health, pertinent family history, medications you take, risk factors, and any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing.
Risk Factors for Floaters
Most floaters are the result of age-related changes, but you are at greater risk for floaters if you have:
- Eye Disease
- Post-op complications
Most floaters are harmless and are likely to disappear on their own. When floaters are signs of an underlying condition, treating the condition usually resolves the floaters. Here at Swan Family Optometry in Fair Oaks, CA, our eye doctors and capable staff are ready to partner with you to preserve your sight. Call us for an appointment today. Our number is 916-966-6080.