Many people, especially as they get older, experience floaters, which are specks that appear in your vision. They can be annoying, but you get used to them most of the time, and they appear to fade away.
Floaters are common and usually harmless. However, there are some scenarios where floaters can indicate a more serious issue with your eyes. It’s good to know what to look out for when it comes to floaters and when to see a doctor. Keep reading to learn if floaters are a normal part of your vision!
Floaters and Aging
Floaters are a natural part of the aging process. When you get older, the fluid that fills your eye, called the vitreous, shrinks.
As it shrinks, it’s easier for particles to get stuck in it. When light enters your eye, it goes around the particles before it hits your retina, translating the light that passes through your eye into images that your brain can process.
The particles show up in these images as floaters. This is a lot like when you hold up your hand in front of a projector. Your hand appears on the screen, much like how these particles in the vitreous appear in your vision.
Floaters are a standard part of your vision, and while they don’t disappear over time, they become something that you’re accustomed to seeing over time. Your brain stops processing them, so it seems like they disappear.
Sometimes, this process can take a long time, but you almost always get used to floaters in your vision. Sometimes, however, an abnormal amount of floaters may indicate a health problem.
When to See a Doctor
It’s normal for floaters to pop up every once in a while over time. But seeing an increase in floaters at once is usually a sign that something is wrong.
This is especially concerning if they’re accompanied by flashing lights, pain, problems with vision, or a shadow in the corner of your vision. If you experience any of these symptoms while also seeing an increase in floaters, you should seek medical attention right away.
These symptoms indicate a retinal tear or detachment. Unless promptly treated, you could experience extreme vision loss or even blindness. If your symptoms are mild, try and get an appointment with an ophthalmologist within 24 hours.
If you can’t get a prompt appointment or your symptoms are severe, have someone take you to the hospital right away.
If you have a retinal tear or detachment, you can have surgery to treat your retina. However, if you don’t have any issues besides floaters, the best treatment is no treatment.
When you have floaters that massively interfere with your vision in rare cases, you may get a vitrectomy. This procedure removes some of the vitreous fluid in your eye and replaces it with synthetic fluid.
However, this procedure is only used on rare occasions as it can increase your risk for retinal tears or detachment.
Floaters are a normal part of your vision and almost always fade away or appear to fade away. You can and should talk to your eye doctor about floaters during your regular eye exams, as keeping track of them can help you and your doctor better understand how healthy your eyes are.
If you’re concerned about floaters, schedule an appointment at Shepherd Eye Center in Henderson, NV, today!