What Causes Floaters, and What Can I Do About Them?

optometry, eye floaters, aging,

Do you often notice gray or black strings or cobwebs when you look at a bright background?

These specks of light are a common occurrence caused by a substance inside your eye that changes its consistency as you age, going from gel-like to watery, causing what are known as floaters.

Age increases your risk of developing floaters. However, you can get floaters at any age, especially if you’re nearsighted or suffer from diabetes.

Our specialists at Ventura Eye Institute want to shed some light on what causes floaters, when they’re harmless, and under what conditions you should seek medical help.

Common causes

Eye floaters are most commonly caused by aging, inflammation, and bleeding.

As you age, the substance that helps your eye maintain its round shape shrinks and becomes stringy, making it harder for light to get inside your eye. As a consequence, you start seeing tiny gray or dark specks.

Bleeding in the eye is usually caused by high blood pressure, injuries, or diabetic retinopathy. When you address these issues, your floaters disappear.

A rare cause of floaters that requires immediate medical care is a torn retina. When the gel-like substance in your eye pulls on your retina, it results in a tear that in turn leads to retinal detachment due to fluid retention behind the eye. Left untreated, this can lead to permanent damage and vision loss.

Treatment options

In many cases, floaters don’t require treatment, but if you suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, addressing those issues may make your floaters disappear.

In rare cases, professionals use laser treatments to disrupt floaters in the eye when these tiny shadows interfere with the vision of a patient.

Surgery is also an option, but only when floaters become unbearable and make it difficult for you to drive, read, or continue your everyday activities.

Signs that you need immediate medical care

Floaters are usually harmless, but you may need to contact a specialist right away if you experience the following:

While these symptoms don’t come with any pain, they could be signs of retinal detachment, a serious problem that requires urgent care as it can lead to blindness in the affected eye within days.

Learn more about the floaters in your eyes

Most floaters are harmless and rarely come with any complications. But it’s important to get a complete eye exam to find out what causes them in the first place.

The eye exam is painless. It involves the use of eyedrops to dilate your pupils while an ophthalmologist takes a look at your eye using a slit lamp.

If you live in or around Camarillo, California, and experience floaters, schedule an appointment with us by phone or here on our website to find out the cause of your discomfort and receive expert advice on how to improve your vision.

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