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Floaters

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Floaters

Have you ever noticed tiny spots, specks, strings or cobwebs that drift aimlessly around your field of vision?  These are called floaters!  

Our eyes are filled with a clear jelly-like substance called the vitreous humor.  The vitreous humor is responsible for helping the eye keep its shape and holding the retina firmly in place.  As we get older, the vitreous humor becomes more liquid and parts of the protein fibers start clumping together.  When the light enters our eyes, these clumped fibers cast a shadow on the retina which causes us to see floaters.  Floaters may be most noticeable when looking at something bright like the sky or white paper. 

When should I worry about my floaters?

Sometimes floaters can be a symptom of certain eye diseases or a detached retina.  If you experience any of following symptoms please call us right away for an appointment:

  • Sudden increase or worsening in the number of floaters
  • Flashes of light
  • Floaters that gradually get worse
  • Eye pain
  • Floaters that appear after trauma or surgery
  • Loss of worsening of peripheral vision

Although these floaters may be irritating, they are usually no cause for concern.  Floaters can show up at any age, but usually occur more frequently after the age of 50.  Most floaters either settle at the bottom of the eye or the brain adapts to stop noticing them.  Most treatment options actually increase the amount of floaters you will see so we recommend waiting it out in most situations.  Schedule an appointment for any concerns, we will always squeeze you in for flashes and floaters the same day!

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Written by Dr. Emily Lemburg

More Articles By Dr. Emily Lemburg

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