Floaters. Most of us have had them, the little specs — sometimes more web-like than anything– floating across your line of sight. They seem to appear out of nowhere, and when you try to look at them, they dart in another direction. What are they? Do you need to be concerned? When should you call a doctor? These are common questions that we will address in today’s article.

What are eye floaters?

We all have a jelly-like substance inside our eye, called vitreous. As we age, the vitreous becomes more liquid, and the fibers within the vitreous can clump. These clumps cast shadows onto our retina, causing the appearance of floaters.

Since this process is usually part of the natural aging process, it isn’t much cause for concern. The floaters will often appear, then — over time — settle to bottom of the eye. While they won’t go away completely, they will tend to congregate below the line of site, becoming less of an annoyance.

Usually. In some cases, new onset floaters are associated with posterior vitreous detachments, which is when that jelly-like substance inside our eye (vitreous) separates, tears, or detaches from the retina. Please see your vision specialist within 72 hours if you suddenly have more floaters than normal.

When are eye floaters cause for concern?

Since most eye floaters are normal and occur naturally with age, they do not require medical attention. However, if the floaters are combined with the following symptoms or situations, call your vision specialist right away. Addition symptoms and situations to watch out for include:

  • A sudden onset of more eye floaters than usual
  • Flashes of bright light in conjunction with the floaters
  • Sudden loss of of peripheral vision
  • A spontaneous occurrence of obstructed, blurry, or hazy vision
  • A recent eye injury
  • You have diabetes, extreme myopia (nearsightedness), or ocular inflammation
  • You recently underwent eye surgery, including laser procedures and cataract surgery

These symptoms, combined with your recent medical history, could be cause for concern for a sight-threatening situation. Contact your eye doctor immediately.

We can help!

To learn more about floaters, visit the web page. As always, we’d rather you be safe than sorry. If there’s any question about the floaters you see roaming around in your vision, give us a call at (512) 447-6096 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment today.