Patients often describe floaters as little black shadows or pieces of fuzz that bounce around their vision. Floaters are often harmless, but sometimes they’re the first indication of a serious eye condition. The team at Ford Eye Center in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, can screen patients to identify the underlying cause of floaters and treat if necessary.
Most of the time floaters are harmless pieces of debris floating in the vitreous humor (the gel/liquid part of the eye) and don’t require medical treatment. The primary reason patients seek treatment for floaters is because they feel they interfere with their ability to see and, subsequently, their quality of life.
When new floaters appear suddenly, they can indicate a serious ophthalmic condition require immediate medical attention. Patients should call Ford Eye Center right away if they experience a sudden onset.
Patients experiencing these symptoms should also seek immediate treatment:
Sudden onset of new floaters may be an indication of retinal detachment. This is a very rare condition in which the layer of tissue along the back of the eye pulls away from the surrounding tissue.
There are no signs or symptoms of floaters outside of the small cloud or shadow in the patient’s vision. Floaters are not painful.
In most cases, patients can cope with floaters by simply moving their eyes around to get the floaters to settle outside of their field of vision. In severe cases (when floaters block vision), the vitreous human can be removed from the eye and replaced with another solution.
Floaters are considered a normal development with age. Patients who are over age 50 are at highest risk of developing floaters. Other risk factors include:
Risk factors are not associated with lifestyle, so patients are unable to take measures to minimize their risk factors.
Not all eye doctors are experienced or qualified to treat anterior segment disorders. An optometrist can make a recommendation for a retina or other specialist.