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Getting Rid of Pesky Floaters

There it is again. That translucent squiggle or dot that floats across your vision. No matter where you shift your vision, it’s still there — until finally, it disappears. Floaters are extremely common; almost everyone has them. Fortunately, floaters are usually harmless, but if they interfere with your vision, it’s time to talk to your eye doctor.

At Paragon Eye Associates in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, our team of expert optometrists and ophthalmologists offers outstanding eye care, including diagnosing the cause of floaters and providing appropriate treatment.

What are floaters, anyway?

Your eyes are filled with a gel-like fluid called the vitreous. As you age, your vitreous thickens and can shrink and pull away from the back of your eye. This is a normal and painless sign of aging that can cause cells in your vitreous to clump together. 

You don’t actually see these clumps, but you perceive their shadows as the specks and squiggles in your vision. As light enters your eye, your intraocular lens focuses the light onto your retina. If a clump of vitreous cells is in the path of light, it casts a shadow on your retina.

The resulting floaters typically drift in and out of your field of vision. You’re more likely to see them if you’re looking at a plain background, like a clear, blue sky or a white computer screen. 

Almost everyone develops floaters eventually. Your chances of developing floaters are higher if you’re nearsighted, have had cataract surgery, or have inflammation in your eye.

Most of the time, floaters don’t need professional treatment and go away on their own. 

Are floaters ever dangerous?

A sudden increase in floaters could be a sign of retinal detachment, which is an eye emergency. For example, you might see a sudden “waterfall” of floaters. If you have other symptoms like flashes of light in your vision, shadowed vision, or blurry vision, or sudden and severe eye pain or headaches, call our team here at Paragon Eye Associates right away. 

How are floaters treated?

We offer treatment for floaters when they interfere with your vision. While laser treatments are an option, the most effective treatment is surgery to remove your vitreous. One of our gifted ophthalmologists numbs your eye and makes a small incision. They extract your vitreous and replace it with either a solution or a gas bubble to help your eye maintain its shape and keep your retina pressed against the back of your eye. 

If your floaters are due to retinal detachment, we provide a similar procedure to reattach your retina and protect your vision. 

Can I prevent floaters?

You can protect your overall eye health to reduce your chances of developing distracting floaters or issues that increase your risk for them. For example, you should make sure to follow a healthy diet, including plenty of vegetables and lean proteins. Nutrients like lutein and omega-3 fatty acids promote eye health. 

You should also make a habit of wearing protective goggles if you play sports or have hobbies that raise your risk of eye injury. If you work and at a computer, practice the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 

And of course, have routine comprehensive eye exams. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, have your eyes checked at least once a year. If you don’t need corrective lenses, you should still have eye exams at least once every two years.

If you’re bothered by pesky floaters in your vision or you’re due for an eye exam, call our offices in Arlington or Mansfield, Texas, today to make an appointment. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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