Optical Floaters – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
As people age, it’s not unusual for them to develop optical floaters that appear without warning in their field of vision. In fact, it’s fairly common. Optical floaters can become especially noticeable while looking at a bright background, such as a clean sheet of white paper or a cloudless sky.
Optical floaters, also known as eye floaters, are caused by tiny cave-ins in the vitreous gel within the eyeball and are a completely normal and natural part of ageing. While they can be annoying, they typically aren’t dangerous as long as they don’t interfere with your ability to see.
In some instances, an optical floater can cast a subtle shadow over a person’s vision, but this generally only occurs under certain uncommon lighting conditions.
Are Floaters Dangerous?
Floaters are common, especially among older adults. Generally, they begin to appear when a person is in their 40s or 50s, but they can also be seen for the first time when people are younger or much older. Usually, people learn to live with them or just ignore them. They can sometimes go away on their own over a period of months or years.
In rare instances, however, benign floaters can become persistent and bothersome enough that they cause the person to seek medical treatment.
Floaters should be treated immediately if they are accompanied by flashes of light or a loss of vision in one or both eyes. These symptoms can be indicative of more serious conditions – including retinal detachment, a retinal tear, or bleeding within the eye – which can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated right away.
What Do Floaters Look Like?
Optical floaters will track along with your line of sight. They will often appear to dart away if you try to focus on them. And they can become more pronounced if you rub your eyes. Some people see them more often in the early morning or late at night.
Eye floaters can take a number of different shapes, including black or gray dots, rings, cobwebs, or squiggly lines. In some cases, they can take on threadlike strands which can be knobby and semi-transparent.
There’s no specific age at which floaters always appear. But once you start seeing floaters, they usually won’t go away. Sometimes they can be less frequent and less intent over time.
Causes of Floaters
Floaters are caused by cave-ins within vitreous fluid, the gel-like material inside the eyeball itself. Syneresis is the natural shrinking and liquefaction of the vitreous fluid. Over time, it leads to the tiny cave-ins, in which the vitreous gel collapses away from the retina.
These tiny collapses are what cause floaters, as well as light flashes. In extreme cases, they can cause the retina’s sensory and pigment layers to tear apart. This is known as retinal detachment.
Best Treatments for Optical Floaters
While optical floaters usually aren’t harmful, they are definitely annoying. And they can sometimes lead to more serious optical issues. So it’s a good idea to treat them by using a high-quality eye drop that lubricates, cleans and medicates the eye.
Ethos Bright Eyes drops are a type of specialised eye drop that has been designed scientifically for the treatment of optical floaters and other common eye problems among older adults. Applying just a few drops of Bright Eyes to your eyes daily can help improve overall eye health and eliminate the conditions that can lead to these conditions, as well as symptoms including eye irritation, dryness, redness and pain.
If you want to protect your eyes from seeing optical floaters, or provide you with the relief you need to minimise their intensity and duration, then you need to use Bright Eyes eye drops. They give your tired, aching eyes the relief they need before temporary or permanent damage can occur.
Author: Professor Steven Charles Gallant