Floaters are spots and shadows that drift around your visual field. They’re quite common for most adults, at least occasionally. However, in some cases, floaters are a symptom of a serious problem, such as retinal detachment. When you notice a sudden increase in floaters, it’s important to see a medical doctor who specializes in eye disease promptly. At Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, experienced ophthalmologist Stephen Wolchok, MD, skillfully assesses your eye health and vision to diagnose problems and deliver effective solutions. Call the Jacksonville, Florida, office, or use the online appointment scheduler now.
Floaters are small particles that move around in your visual field. They're often likened to spots, squiggly lines, cobwebs, or other shapes. Often, floaters are most obvious when looking at a plain background like a wall or clear sky.
Floaters are usually related to normal age-related changes. The vitreous body, the transparent jellylike substance that fills most of your inner eye, starts shrinking and growing more liquid starting around your 40s.
As the vitreous body retracts and grows more liquid, small fibers can clump together. Floaters are the shadows cast by those vitreous clumps.
Occasional floaters aren't dangerous, but there are exceptions. As your vitreous body shrinks, it eventually separates from the retina. This is a normal part of aging called posterior vitreous detachment.
Most of the time, a posterior vitreous detachment isn't dangerous or vision-threatening. It's normal to see a small increase in floaters as this detachment happens. But, in some cases, you may experience a dramatic spike in floaters during posterior vitreous detachment.
Flashes, bright flashes of light in the affected eye, often accompany floaters. Floaters and flashes can be a sign that you have:
Floaters can also occur when you have a serious eye disease like diabetic retinopathy. In its advanced form, diabetic retinopathy can cause new abnormal blood vessel growth. These blood vessels often leak and cause scar tissue that tugs the retina out of place. When this happens, it’s common to see a big increase in floaters as well as flashes.
If you notice a sudden influx of floaters, contact Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, to schedule an eye exam. If you also have flashes, make sure to mention it when you call because the team will want to see you as soon as possible.
Floaters don’t always require treatment. But, if they’re causing vision problems or are part of an eye disease, the team can recommend an appropriate treatment.
This may include either a laser treatment to break the clumps of vitreous up or a surgical procedure to remove your vitreous body. Of course, managing your health problems is also important in decreasing floaters.
Call Wolchok Eye Associates, PA, or use online scheduling for help with floaters now.