Eye floaters are the spots, cobwebs and tiny specks that can be seen floating within the vision field. The spots, floaters and eye flashes can actually be very annoying, but usually, they should not cause any alarm.
The floaters and spots usually appear when small parts of the vitreous part of the eye break loose. When you are young, the vitreous is usually of a gel like kind of consistency. As we grow older, this part starts liquefying and dissolves creating watery areas.
Can they be considered emergencies?
When you spot only one or fewer of the floaters there is not much to be concerned about. However, when you spot the floaters and spots and then see light flashes, then it is important that you get treated immediately. The appearance of the signs may mean that the vitreous part of the eye could be pulling away. This may also mean that the retina is being affected and removed from its lining. When the floater is very large, then you may notice a shadow cast on your vision. This is something that you may notice when you are exposed to certain kinds of lights.
Most of those floaters in your eye are protein spots which are normally referred to as collagen. This protein shrinks as we grow older and becomes shredded. It is the shadows that are cast that are called the floaters. Floaters can occur at any age, but usually, it may be between the age of 50 and 75. The main causes of the eye floaters include:
- Changes in age: most of the floaters and lashes happen because of changes related to age. When the vitreous shrinks and sags, it ends up clumping together and getting stringy. This may block light passage thereby casting shadows.
- Torn retina: as the vitreous sags, it may tag causing the retina to get torn in the process. If you do not get treated, the rear leads to detachment and ever fluid accumulation and this leads to separation. If this is not appreciated, you may have to deal with a permanent vision loss.
- Inflammation: this is commonly referred to as posterior veitis. The condition is the when there is inflammation in the uvea layers. This may happen due to infections, inflammatory diseases and so on. Most floaters come as a result of the inflammation.
- Bleeding: you may bleed in the eye if they have issues with the blood vessels as well as injury.
The risk factors
There are some things that can actually increase your chances of getting eye floaters. They are:
- Inflammation in the eye
- If you are over 50 years
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye trauma
- Complications related to cataract surgery
Most of those floaters you may have may not need any treatment. Many people are bothered by the presence of floaters, but they may not indicate a serious issue. If the vision becomes unstructured, you may roll your eyes so as to allow the debris to clear. The floaters shift with the fluid.
Of the issues worsens, you may seek treatment. You could get a vitrectomy, which is a surgery. Here the vitreous is replaced with a solution of salt.