Eye Floaters: What They Are & How to Manage Them
by Jeff Richards
Have you ever looked up at the sky and noticed a squiggly line float in and out of your vision? Or perhaps you’re doing schoolwork and see what looks like a cobweb float across the page. It wasn’t your imagination!
These little specks are what’s known as eye floaters. They can manifest as any shape but typically appear as grey dots, squiggly lines, and cobwebs. They tend to move out of the field of vision when in focus.
Let’s take a look at what causes eye floaters and how to manage them in your day-to-day life.
The Main Cause of Floaters
The inner eye is composed of a gel-like substance known as the vitreous. The vitreous, over time, loses its gel-like quality, loosens, and takes on the quality of a liquid. This is a natural process that causes strands to clump together. As they pass through the vision line behind the retina, we see them from the inside out.
Floaters can also manifest when the vitreous pulls away from the retina suddenly, a condition known as posterior retinal detachment. PRD is not considered very serious but requires monitoring.
Another cause of eye floaters is the vitreous liquid pulling a piece of the retina away, known as retinal detachment. This condition is an emergency that often results in many dark specks in the field of vision – typically blood. If this happens, call an experienced professional like West Coast Optical Other symptoms are pain, a sudden onslaught of many eye floaters, and some peripheral vision loss.
We’ve covered the natural process of how floaters come to be, but other factors come into play as well. Anecdotal evidence supports stress and anxiety as a primary trigger for eye floaters as well as excessive caffeine consumption.
Other notable triggers include:
- Chronic migraine disorders
- Some medications
- Diabetic complications
- Heavy chronic alcohol consumption
- Heavy screen usage
- Improper eyewear (check out the Calgary based experts at Eyecare Plus for a wide range of sunglasses and eyeglasses.)
Sometimes the clumps simply pass through the field of vision, and other times they stay there indefinitely. The good news is that floaters are common with age and usually harmless.
Treatments for eye floaters are slim. Often the floaters, especially new ones, will fade or disappear. Disappearing in this case often simply means that gravity will pull them down out of the field of vision. Many individuals have seen some relief from eye exercises; moving from side to side and up and down. This can displace the floaters temporarily.
Whenever you discover floaters in your vision, it’s still a good idea to have them examined by an optometrist. You would be in excellent hands with the professionals at Perspective Optometry in Vancouver as they’re well versed in a variety of eye disorders.
If the situation is extreme, an optometrist may recommend a vitrectomy. Simply put, the process of a vitrectomy involves removing the existing vitreous and replacing it with saline. Over time, the eye will gradually produce enough vitreous to replace the saline. This procedure does not guarantee permanent removal. Indeed, the distress to the eye caused by this invasive procedure could create more floaters.
Having regular eye examinations is very important to eye health. Not only for just eye floaters, but for more serious conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Eye Optical in Vaughan offers easy and low maintenance walk-in eye exams for your convenience.
Eye floaters both old and new can be distressing. Rest assured that they will settle or fade in time. An excellent remedy is focusing on other tasks, which will train the brain to ignore them.
About the Author
Toronto native Jeff has always had a love for writing. He first found this love in high school when he wrote articles for his fellow peers in the school newspaper. Since then, Jeff has successfully published two books, the first of which was published shortly after receiving his master’s degree in literature. With plans to write another book, Jeff’s passion for storytelling still continues more and more every day.