Eye floaters are small, usually dark, shapes that, quite literally, float across your vision. They might appear as dots, squiggles, or even weblike within the eye. Much of the time you might not notice them, but—and especially when you’re looking at a light-colored surface—they become apparent. But you can’t focus directly on them. Every time you try, they move away. 

But what are they? Are they harmless? Can anything be done about them…?

The following is a definitive guide to everything you’ve ever wanted to know about eye floaters.

From Causes to Treatment: eye floater 101

  • What causes eye floaters?
  • Are they dangerous?
  • What can be done about them?

What causes eye floaters?

Eye floaters are caused by the clumping together of tiny fibrous strands of the gel-like substance contained within the eye, known as the vitreous humor. These get in the way as light flows through the eye, causing shadows to be picked up by the retina. We see these as floaters.

The reason they move when you try to look at them is because they’re suspended in the fluid of the eye, therefore they don’t remain in a perfectly static position.

Everyone is susceptible to getting floaters and they often increase as we age. Other reasons they form include:

  • Injuries to the eye
  • Infections within the eye
  • Eye inflammation (uveitis)
  • Blood within the eye
  • Retinal tears and retinal detachment

Are they dangerous?

In the majority of cases, eye floaters aren’t dangerous. However, if you were to suddenly experience multiple new ones—perhaps accompanied by flashes of light—then this could be a sign of a new retinal detachment. This is especially likely if you experience a dark shadow appearing from the top or side of the eye.

If this occurs, seek immediate advice as this is a medical emergency.

What can be done about them?

In the majority of cases, nothing. As long as they don’t interfere with your vision, then most ophthalmologists will advise leaving them well alone. However, if they become more than a minor irritation, then you might prefer to get them removed.

Because so many of us spend many hours staring at a computer screen—the perfect light-colored background for us to notice floaters—people of all ages choose to undergo removal treatment.

It used to be necessary to carry out a highly invasive procedure, known as a vitrectomy, whereby the fluid within the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial solution. However, this is no longer necessary with a cutting-edge treatment known as YAG vitreolysis. This is carried out over a few sessions in the eye doctor’s office. The laser is used to target the clumps of protein within the eye, blasting them into microscopic pieces so they’re no longer noticeable.

The treatment has a 90% success rate and takes place over about 3 sessions at 4–6-week intervals.

Want to Know More about Treatment & What Causes Eye Floaters. Contact the WBEC Today

Eye floater removal is just one of the vision-related treatments on offer at the West Boca Eye Center. Every consultation begins with an in-depth history to allow your expert ophthalmologist to get a great understanding of your whole-body physical health, eye health, and any potential genetic links. This global approach provides the very foundation of all eye-related health and treatment. It’s vital because the body is a dynamic system, with every element of it affecting the rest. 

Other minor and more serious health conditions are often picked up during a regular eye examination. Just one reason why it’s so important to attend them regularly.

Discover more about the floater treatment on offer at https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/laser-floater-removal/