Eye Floaters: When Should You Visit a Optometrist?

Eye floaters are small obstructions that occur in the eye causing one to see “Flashes.” They manifest in a variety of ways such as specks, lines on the field of view or cobweb-like vision. They tend to move not in any particular manner as one moves his eyes. Floaters are common when one is looking at bright light e.g. from a computer screen or commonly the sky. They do not stay still and tends to drift when one tries to look at them, but do not adhere precisely to the eye movements.

Physiology behind floaters: Floaters typically occur when the eye’s vitreous gel pulls back the retina. They pull fine fibers on the back of the eye causing Retinal detachment, which physically manifests as lines obstructing vision. The spots seen are tiny pieces of the eye’s clear vitreous humor break within the back of the eye in its inner portion. When they float in the liquid, they tend to cast their shadows on the retina causing one to see “Spots.” In some instances, older vitreous humor tends to be denser hence detaches from the retina. A nerve impulse initiates on the optic nerve and the brain perceives it as bright light or Floaters.

The frequency or occurrence of eye flashes: They may not have a particular pattern of occurrence and commonly drift away when one tries to look at them. Other medical conditions associated with eye floaters: Persistent eye floaters can cause loss of sight and cataracts.

The risk factors related to eye floaters: Floaters seemingly occur in higher frequencies with advancing age. Any factor that can trigger posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is a potential cause of Eye floaters. Nearsightedness (myopia) vision tend to accelerate the development of floaters to people at their young age tend to develop floaters due to accelerated posterior vitreous detachment. A physical eye injury has the potential to initiate retinal disintegration hence causing eye floaters. Diabetes can also trigger vitreous syneresis causing the gradual development of eye flashes.

Indicators to see an eye specialist for floaters: Eye floaters are commonly harmless and do not require medical attention. In some instances, they may tend to be annoying, and this may lead to the need of seeing an ophthalmologist. A sudden occurrence of Eye flashes may indicate that the retinal wall is tearing which could easily cause eye flashes. It is important to seek eye specialists care within 24 hours when the following symptoms occur:

Sudden loss of sight which could be dimly or total.

The sudden occurrence of flashes especially when viewing bright light.

Shadows or curtains obscuring vision.

How to treat Eye Floaters: Treatments for eye flashes are typically “Unsafe” hence in most cases; leaving them is the most favorable option. Ophthalmologists examine the condition using an ophthalmoscope mounted on their eyes. Doctors often advice affected persons on relaxation techniques that help one adapt to live with them. Complications such as Cataracts and severe eye infection often result from treatments hence in most instances; the risk outweighs the gain.

However, procedures such as vitrectomy may reduce eye flashes by removing the eye’s gel-like vitreous humor together with its broken retinal fibers and replacing it with a clear fluid, often a salt solution. Laser eye surgery is a modern technique but is also subject to subsequent eye complications.

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