What Are Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters are spots in your vision. They might appear to you as black or gray specks, strings or cobwebs that wander about when you move your eyes and appear to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
Eye floaters may be caused by:
Age – Most eye floaters occur as part of the natural aging process. Over time, the jelly-like vitreous inside your eye changes and becomes partly liquid. As the vitreous shrinks and sags, it clumps and gets stringy. Bits of this debris within the vitreous will cast tiny shadows on your retina, which appear to you as floaters.
Inflammation – Posterior uveitis is swelling in the layers of the uvea in the back of the eye. Posterior uveitis, which can trigger eye floaters, may be caused by infection or inflammatory conditions.
Bleeding – Bleeding into the vitreous can have lots of causes, including injury and capillary issues.
Torn Retina – Retinal tears can occur when a drooping vitreous pulls on the retina with sufficient force to tear it. Without treatment, a retinal tear could result in retinal detachment – a build-up of fluid behind the retina that causes it to separate from the back of your eye. Untreated, retinal detachment can trigger long-term vision loss.
Floaters are rarely troublesome enough to cause additional problems, unless they are a symptom of a more serious condition. Though they will never fully disappear, they often improve over the course of a few weeks or months.
Most eye floaters don’t require any type of treatment. They are often only a nuisance in otherwise healthy people, and they rarely signal a larger, more serious problem. If a floater is temporarily obstructing your vision, you can roll your eyes from side to side and up and down to move the debris. As the fluid in your eye shifts, so will the floaters.
Sometimes, eye floaters may begin to impair vision, especially if they are caused by an underlying condition that worsens. The floaters may become so bothersome and numerous that you have difficulty seeing. If this occurs, in rare cases, your doctor may recommend treatment in the form of laser removal or surgery. Most eye floaters do not need treatment.
Eye floaters can be discouraging and adjusting to them can take time. However, you may eventually be able to ignore them or observe them less often.