Eye Floaters

The detection of something that seems to linger in mid air just beyond your eye can be very distracting. The spot may seem to float as your vision changes direction. This sensation is frequently caused by the aptly named ‘eye floaters’. Near the center of the eyeball is a soft, gel-like substance known as the vitreous. When this area develops condensation or unusual deposits, it can result in the eye detecting strange floating spots.

A person is able to see because light passes through the lens of the eye and projects an image on the retina, which sits at the back wall of the eyeball. In order to reach that area, the light must first traverse the vitreous. The deposits that exist there, therefore, cast a shadow on the receptors in the retina. When the message is sent to the brain, the shadows are translated as spots in the field of vision and because the deposits cast a slightly different shadow depending on what angle the light enters the eye, the floaters appear to move.

Due to the fact that the deposits are not uniform in shape or size, floaters appear differently to the individuals who experience them. While most will describe them as gray or black, the shape description vary widely. For some, floaters appear rounded or even as a c-shape. However, others will describe them as straight lines or even branches. One thing does remain consistent between people reporting floaters; they are most obvious in bright light. Because they are caused by shadows cast when light enters the eye, floaters are not seen in the dark or when one’s eyes are closed.

While one might believe that trips to the ophthalmologist would be most common for those who wish to have Lasik Austin, the truth is that floaters are the number one reason for visits to the eye specialist. Why would one report to the doctor for eye floaters if they are so common (nearly everyone experiences floaters before the age of seventy)? There are several eye conditions that are associated with them. For that reason, a person will likely be referred to an ophthalmologist.

Floaters are more commonly seen in those who have suffered eye trauma or who have an underlying eye condition. This can include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, extreme myopia, and more. There are also certain illnesses that are linked with eye floaters. These include tuberculosis and syphilis. Floaters can even be a side effect of some forms of eye surgery. So, while floaters themselves aren’t dangerous, they can be a sign of an underlying issue. For this reason, a visit to the ophthalmologist is highly recommended for people who begin to experience floaters in their vision field.

Fortunately, for those who have to deal with the annoying eye floaters, they generally decrease in size and fade away completely with time. This is due to the eye’s natural behavior of absorbing the defect in the vitreous. There is no current treatment for eye floaters, though some natural remedies make claims otherwise. Clinical studies have not shown an evidence of this. Avoiding bright light can help minimize the annoyance until the distortion is naturally erased.

Hill Country Eye Center
12171 W Parmer Lane Ste 201
Cedar Park, TX 78613
(512) 528-1144