Have you ever noticed little spots or transparent little squiggles floating through your field of vision while on your computer or outside on a bright day? You could be seeing eye floaters. If so, you may be concerned as to whether they are normal or a sign that something serious is going on with your eye health.
When Are Eye Floaters Considered Normal?
Floaters are simply tiny clumps of cells or gel that float around within the vitreous that fills the eye. The vitreous, which contains collagen protein, begins to thicken and shrink as you get older. Clumps or strands of collagen can begin to form. Sometimes floaters are caused when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye.
Most floaters are harmless and can develop at any age, but typically between the ages of 50 to 75. They do not go away, but the good news is that most people notice them less over time. You are at a higher risk of developing eye floaters if you:
- Are nearsighted
- Have had an eye injury
- Have had cataract surgery
- Have an eye disease like diabetic retinopathy
When to Be Concerned with Eye Floaters
Initially, floaters may be annoying. They are typically harmless and do not cause vision loss. However, they could signal something more serious like:
- Detached or torn retina
- Eye tumor
- Inflammation in the vitreous or retina
- Bleeding within the vitreous
It is always a good idea to have a comprehensive eye exam to rule out such conditions if you have eye floaters. But remember, if you see a sudden change in their severity, you should contact your eye doctor right away, especially if:
- The number of floaters suddenly increases
- You see flashes of lights
- You have eye pain
- Your vision changes, such as a loss of peripheral vision
- Your floaters appear after an eye injury or surgery
Most floaters are harmless, but that does not mean you should skip your yearly eye exam. Protect your vision by scheduling your next eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center by calling (602) 955-2700.