Should You Be Worried About Eye Floaters?

Yesterday, we took our yearly trip to the eye doctor.  As of this year, all three of the kiddos will be wearing glasses.  Eye health is super important to us, especially since eye disease runs in my family.  Floaters are something that I deal with on a semi-regular basis, so when this contributed post came along, I knew that I just had to share it with you guys!  Please, go get your eyes checked out to ensure that you’re keeping them healthy.



Eye floaters are annoying. Usually, they manifest as small, floating objects that appear to traverse your field of view. Most people have floaters at some point in their lives, but for some, the condition can be a lot more serious.



What Are Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Sometimes they can have an almost cobweb appearance, while others can look like dots and lines. Usually, they are grey or black in color and can appear in any part of the vision.


Eye floaters are mostly small bits of material that have clumped up in the eye. They float around the in the vitreous humor – a kind of gel-like substance that fills much of the interior of the eye socket. These floating objects cast shadows on the retina when light comes into the eye through the pupil, creating the impression of dark spots.


What Causes Eye Floaters?

Optometrists say that there are several reasons why people might develop eye floaters. Perhaps the most common cause in younger people is diabetes or pre-diabetes. Because the retina is made from very sensitive tissue, it’s susceptible to damage from high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. The lining of the eye can become detached in cases of diabetes, causes foreign objects to enter the vitreous humor, thus causing dark floaters.


Another cause is in people who have a history of inflammation. Individuals who have previously suffered from chronic inflammatory conditions, like IBS, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are known to have higher numbers of floaters in their eyes than other people.


Finally, some people who undergo yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser eye therapy can also suffer from the condition. This is usually the result of posterior vitreous detachment.



Should You Be Concerned?

Floaters are not only annoying, but they can also be the result of a more serious underlying health condition. People who experience a sudden development of floaters should talk to an experienced optometrist.


In the most severe cases, floaters could be the result of vitreous detachment. In these situations, immediate medical intervention is required. Symptoms include sudden flashes of light, vision loss in certain patches of the eye, blurry vision and shadows in certain parts of the visual field.


Obviously, not all floaters are serious. But it’s usually a good idea to get professional help if they suddenly increase in number. A permanent detachment of the vitreous from the main shell of the eye can result in permanent vision loss – not something you want.


The good news, however, is that the majority of floaters don’t require any treatment. Even in people aged sixty-plus, more than 60 percent don’t require any further treatment. What’s more, treatment is usually non-invasive. Medics use something called photocoagulation to help repair retinal tears.


Even in cases where surgery is required, the success rate is high. According to data from Health After 50, more than 90 percent of operations have a positive, beneficial outcome.


In short, floaters could be a sign of something more serious. Since your eyes are valuable to you, it’s worth getting them checked out.


When was the last time you had your eyes checked?

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