Do You Have Floaters In Your Eyes?
by Dr. Ashish G Sharma
Originally Published in the News-Press on May 27, 2014
Are you constantly swatting at imaginary bugs or gnats? Do you notice moving cobweb-like images or specks moving around in your vision? Do you have a “snow globe effect” in your vision?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you have eye floaters.
Your eye is filled with a clear, egg white-like substance called vitreous. It is made up of about 99 percent water and 1 percent collagen and hyaluronic acid. The vitreous gel has many functions. It helps the eye to maintain its round shape, helps to refract light, and serves as a shock absorber for the retina. The retina is the light sensitive tissue layer that lines the inside of the eye and is responsible for sight.
Normally, the back part of vitreous pushes against the retina. The vitreous, like any other part of your body, ages and changes over time. As the vitreous ages it liquefies, shrinks and can become stringy or strand-like. These strands cast shadows on the retina, causing floaters to be seen in the vision. The vitreous can also separate from the retina gradually as it ages. This is known as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).
Sometimes the vitreous can pull away from the retina all at once, causing a sudden onset of floaters and other symptoms, like flashes. The majority of the time this separation is not sight-threatening and does not require immediate attention. In some cases, the vitreous can pull so hard on the retina that it produces a retinal tear. A retinal tear can lead to a retinal detachment quickly, and, if untreated, can cause permanent vision loss.
If you experience a sudden onset of many floaters, flashes, and/or a curtain, cloud or veil in your vision, you should call your eye doctor immediately.
People who are at risk for developing eye floaters and associated complications are elderly people, near-sighted people, diabetics, and people who have undergone cataract surgery.
In most cases, floaters are no more than an annoyance and can be left alone. In some people, floaters can be so dense that they block the vision and can interfere with activities of daily living. If the benefits of intervention outweigh the risk of treatment, a surgical procedure can be performed by a vitreo-retinal specialist.
Please visit our website at eye.md for more information.
Dr. Ashish Sharma is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in diseases of the retina and vitreous with Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida with offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Naples and Port Charlotte. The Fort Myers office is located at 6901 International
Center Blvd. Call (239) 939-4323 or visit eye.md