Eye floaters are spots, weblike lines, or rings that move through your field of vision. They may often appear as black or gray specks that drift as you move your eyes or when try to look at them directly. Though they look like objects in front of your eyes, eye floaters are actually in your eye.
Eye floaters are common and usually no cause for alarm. However, they may be a symptom of a developing eye condition or an underlying health issue. Common conditions that may trigger eye floaters include:
- migraines or headaches
- posterior eye inflammation
- eye bleeding
- torn retina
- diabetic retinopathy
Since floaters can be a symptom of a serious vision-threatening eye disease, it’s important to see you eye doctor right away if you start to experience a sudden increase in eye floaters. Your doctor can rule out any problems.
If they don’t find any problems in your eyes, keep reading for tips on dealing with eye floaters.
Treating eye floaters depends on the underlying cause. Some cases are harmless, but more severe cases can affect your eye health. If eye floaters begin to impair your vision, there are treatments available to make them less noticeable or remove them.
1. Ignore them
Sometimes the best treatment is nothing at all. In many cases, eye floaters will fade or disappear on their own. If they don’t fade, sometimes your brain will learn to ignore them. As a result, your vision will begin to adapt. You’ll no longer notice them as much.
Coping with eye floaters is the least invasive option to protect your eyes. If the floaters become a nuisance or begin to impair your vision, discuss your options with your eye doctor.
A vitrectomy is an invasive surgery that can remove eye floaters from your line of vision. Within this procedure, your eye doctor will remove the vitreous through a small incision. The vitreous is a clear, gel-like substance that keeps the shape of your eye round.
Your doctor will replace the vitreous with a solution to maintain the shape of your eye. Your body will then produce more vitreous that will eventually replace this new solution.
Though effective, a vitrectomy may not always remove eye floaters. It’s still possible for them to form again, specifically if this procedure causes any bleeding or trauma. This surgery is used for severe symptoms of floaters.
3. Laser therapy
This procedure isn’t the preferred treatment method since it’s still experimental. While seen as an effective treatment for some cases, some people have noticed little to no improvement. It can also worsen floaters in some instances. Discuss your options with your doctor before pursuing this method.
While some eye diseases can’t be prevented, there are some general tips to protect your vision and maintain your eye health.
1. Receive a comprehensive eye exam
Some people wait until they notice a problem with their vision to receive an eye exam. However, it’s essential for your eye health to visit an eye doctor, ophthalmologist, or optometrist every two years. This is especially so if you’re 65 years old and older.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), you should receive a baseline eye exam at age 40 even if you don’t have any vision problems. It can rule out or identify early signs of eye disease.
2. Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for your eye health. Nutrients found in vegetables and proteins — such as lutein and omega-3 fatty acids — can help prevent vision problems and reduce your risk of macular degeneration.
3. Drink more water
Water is essential for human health, and not just for hydration. Drinking water can also help flush out harmful toxins and debris from your body. Eye floaters can form as a result of toxin buildup. Increasing your water intake can help your body feel better and improve your eye health.
4. Wear protective eyewear
If you’re physically active or play sports, consider wearing protective eyewear to protect against injury. Eye protection while repairing your home, gardening, or performing household duties can also reduce the risk of dirt and debris affecting your vision.
5. Rest your eyes
If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, your eyes may weaken or become strained over time. Practice the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a break while working at your computer. Every 20 minutes, look at something that’s at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Eye floaters can be an annoyance, but they often clear up on their own. Make sure to see your eye doctor immediately to make sure you don’t have any serious underlying eye conditions.
If eye floaters begin to impair your vision, there are treatments available. Discuss treatment options and any risks with your doctor to avoid further damage to your eyes.