Eye Floaters: What Are They, And Are They Serious
Eye floaters look like small spots or lines that drift through the field of vision. Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside the eye becomes more liquid. Floaters often appear when looking at something bright, for example, a piece of white paper or a bright blue sky. They can become annoying but shouldn’t affect one’s sight or be any cause for concern. People who are near-sighted, have diabetes or have had cataract surgery are more prone to experiencing eye floaters.
Gary Rodney, Master of Optometry and Fellow of the International Academy of Orthokeratology and Myopia Control (FIAOMC) based at the Smart Vision Optometry Eyes InDesign Mosman clinic, explains the reasons for eye floaters as well as ways they can be treated.
“You can become accustomed to floaters and they should not bother you too much. Only rarely do they become bad enough to require treatment or indicate a more serious problem,” says Gary Rodney, a Smart Vision Behavioural Optometrist at Eyes InDesign Mosman.
Floaters are made up of small bits of protein, called collagen. As a person gets older, the protein fibres become smaller and form little shreds that clump together. As a result, they cast shadows over the retina. The reason they are called floaters is because they move around the eye and normally disappear when focused on. They appear in many different shapes for example; black or grey spots, squiggly lines, thread-like strands, cobwebs or rings. Once they begin to occur in the eye, they normally do not go away but they become less noticeable over time.
While uncommon, floaters can be a sign of a more serious eye problem. A sudden appearance of floaters accompanied by a flash of light, or a dark shadow in the peripheral or central vision could indicate a retinal tear which would need immediate attention. An Optometrist or Ophthalmologist should be consulted, and a dilated eye examination should be undertaken. “Floaters normally occur if you are near-sighted or if you had cataract surgery. They are rarely caused by eye disease, an eye injury or eye tumours. Those are unusual situations and normally they have no cause for alarm. However, it is important to frequently visit an Optometrist to maintain good eye health,” says Gary.
While floaters don’t normally affect a person’s vision, there are treatments that can be undertaken if the floaters begin to affect one’s daily life or if they are caused by another eye problem. It is important to maintain healthy eyes. Book and appointment for a Comprehensive Vision Skills Assessment with a Smart Vision Behavioural Optometrist to ensure your eye health is what it should be. If treatment is required, a unique wellness plan can be developed.
Smart Vision Optometry clinics are located in multiple suburbs in Sydney. Book a Smart Vision Comprehensive Vision Skills Assessment or Advanced Eye Health Test for any child or adult by calling the Mosman clinic (02) 9969 1600 or the Bondi clinic (02) 9365 5047, book an appointment online.
Written and syndicated by: YDMA News