If you suddenly noticed that your eyes show some tiny spots or flecks that appear as cobwebs, you probably have eye floaters. The floater is formed from the vitreous in the eye that breaks loose and migrates from the inner back portion of the eye to become more visible in front. You can see that the vitreous gel will aimlessly drift in the eye, but will not cause you any significant discomfort or concern. The floater is round shaped, in certain cases, may appear branched, thick or thin. It is more visible with a better lighting condition and appears darker than the color of the background.
Eye floaters and their causes
The vitreous humor of the eye usually starts to deteriorate with aging. Its normal state is altered, causing the symptoms of the eye floaters as the vitreous jelly begins to liquefy, causing some pockets of the liquid left lying inside the firmer vitreous gel. This occurrence commonly occurs in the 50's which is the population commonly affected by eye floaters. Eye floaters are rare among children and teenagers.
When eye floaters become a health issue
Seeing floaters or spots is a normal occurrence, but when it is accompanied by a flashing light, it is a sign that should prompt you to seek medical attention. When you experience this symptom, it is likely that there is a danger of detachment of the retina when the vitreous spot tries to pull away from it. The chance of a retinal tear is 50% with a subsequent detachment occurring with it. It is crucial to obtain an immediate medical attention to take a preventive course of action and to re-attach the retina whenever necessary before loss of vision becomes permanent.
Assessing your risk of getting eye floaters
You can assess your risk of getting eye floaters, although in many instances they can occur anytime. Aging is an indispensable risk factor of getting the condition. An eye injury may also cause the vitreous fluid to detach from the retina without necessarily causing injury to the retina itself. The state of a disease can also encourage eye floaters to occur, such as retinal pathology. It may be present in case of a diabetic retinopathy and nearsightedness. The vitreous gel may also be detached during an eye surgery when removing a cataract. Inflammatory diseases of the eyes, such as acute retinal necrosis can also cause eye floaters to occur.
Should eye floaters need treatment
Not all eyes floaters need treatment. They can be annoying sometimes, but it is rare that they become visible bothersome. If they are not sourced from a disease or other medical condition, they do not need treatment or intervention. However, rare cases of blurred vision can occur with eye floaters especially when they grow in numbers and size that they can affect vision. Most of the cases of eye floaters are the natural course of aging, but it is always best to consult your symptoms to an ophthalmologist to ensure that you rule out other possible medical causes.
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosing eye floaters are usually performed by an ocular inspection. The basis of diagnosis is taken from the patient medical history and a physical examination of the eye. A slit lamp is used to examine the eyes and the pupils are dilated using an eye solution. Most of the eye floaters rarely need treatment, but when they do, there are medications available for treatment with the last option being laser or surgical procedure.