Understanding Eye Floaters: When should I see an eye specialist?

Monday - 05.24.2021

May is Healthy Vision Month. The CDC’s Vision Health Initiative and the National Eye Institute encourage all Americans to make their vision health a priority. 

 

If you haven’t had a vision exam in the past yearbe sure to schedule a visit with an optometrist or eye specialist as soon as possible. 

kid-1508121_640
How can I keep my vision healthy between vision check-ups? 

Schedule a visit with an optometrist once a year for a dilated eye exam. 

  • Some eye problems may be hereditary. Let your optometrist know if any member of your family has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition. 
  • Eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight. Foods such as dark leafy greens and fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids contribute to good eye health.  
  • Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. 
  • Always wash your hands before removing your contacts. Thoroughly clean your contacts to prevent an infection. 
  • Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing home improvement projects. 

What are eye floaters? 

Eye floaters are small, partially transparent, or cloudy particles that may affect your vision. They 'float' in the clear fluid (vitreous humor) located inside your eye and may cast small shadows on your retina.  

These tiny fibers may be in various shapes and sizes including specks, threadlike strings, or cobwebs. They drift about when you move your eyes. 

You'll often notice floaters when you look at a flat, brightly lit surface such as a computer monitor, the sky, or a white sheet of copy paper.  

Are eye floaters normal? 

Eye floaters sometimes appear as a natural part of aging. If you are over 50, you may notice floaters or spots in your vision. They may also be a result of a disease or other health condition: 

  • Eye inflammation in the back of the eye (Posterior uveitis) 
  • Bleeding inside the eye - this may be caused by diabetes, blocked blood vessels, hypertension, or eye trauma 
  • Torn retina (a retinal tear can lead to retinal detachment) - a retinal detachment can cause vision loss 
  • Eye surgery - some types of eye surgeries may add silicone bubbles to the clear fluid inside the eye; these may be noticed as floaters until they are absorbed 

How many eye floaters are too many? 

The presence of any eye floaters may indicate a disease and warrant an eye exam. Contact your eye specialist immediately if you see: 

  • The sudden appearance or a 'shower' of many floaters in an eye 
  • More than just the occasional eye floater 
  • Flashes of light in the eye or in eyes that have floaters 
  • A loss of peripheral (side) vision. When this happens, you may notice darkness on one or more sides of your vision.  

These symptoms may be caused by a retinal tear or a retinal detachment — a serious condition that requires immediate care from an eye specialist. 

How can I prevent eye floaters? 

While floaters can't be prevented, you can make sure they aren't a symptom of a serious eye problem.  

If you've noticed eye floaters see an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They will check your vision to ensure there's no sign of a serious eye condition.   

 

There's no better time than Healthy Vision Month in May to schedule an appointment with an eye specialist.  

We love to see you Smile!

Requesting an appointment takes less time than rinsing with mouthwash!

Request Appointment

Sarrell Dental & Eye

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarrell Dental & Eye

This blog is designed to provide general information and discussions about health and dental-related subjects. No doctor/dentist to patient relationship is established by your use of this blog or website. We are not providing any treatment or diagnosis on this blog, and it is not intended to offer specific dental or medical advice to anyone. The information or other content provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional dental expertise or treatment. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own healthcare decisions, however no guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this blog. If you have questions about any of the information presented on this blog, you should consult with your dentist. The dentists at Sarrell Dental and Eye are licensed to practice in the state of Alabama and this blog is not intended to solicit patients from other states. External links may be provided on this blog as a service and convenience to our patients and other visitors to our blog. These external sites are created and maintained by other public and private organizations, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance or timeliness of any outside information.