Floaters

Accent Vision Specialists

Optometric Physicians & Dry Eye Disease Specialists located in Santa Fe, NM

Those specks, strings, spots, and cobwebs you see in your field of vision are floaters. Floaters are usually harmless, but they can sometimes signal problems with your eye health, and it helps to know the signs. At Accent Vision Specialists, Dwight Thibodeaux, OD, and Paul Tachau, OD, can determine if your floaters are a cause for concern and recommend treatment if necessary. Call the Santa Fe, New Mexico, office today to make an appointment.

Floaters Q & A

What are floaters?

Floaters are dots, lines, circles, and cobweb-like images floating around in your field of vision. 

They appear to rush away when you try to look at them directly and appear more pronounced when you look at a plain bright background like a perfectly clear or overcast sky or a white screen.

Most floaters are made up of particles in the vitreous fluid inside your eyes. When you’re born, your vitreous has a uniform gel-like consistency, but as you age, it starts to change and becomes more liquid in some areas and solid in others.

Vitreous fibers then clump together and break away, blocking some of the light entering your eye and causing the appearance of floaters. Although floaters look like they’re in front of your eye, what you see are actually shadows cast onto your retina in the back of your eye.

What causes floaters?

Floaters are usually harmless. However, they sometimes result from other eye conditions and can be the sign of a serious issue.

Floaters can also result from inflammation or from bleeding in the eye. In these cases, what appear to be floaters are actually debris or blood, not benign vitreous particles. 

When the changing vitreous pulls on your retina, you can experience a retinal tear or detachment. A sudden increase in floaters combined with light flashes could be a warning sign of a retinal problem.

Occasionally, people experience an increase in floaters after cataract surgery. This complication, however, is rare and usually improves within a few months. You’re more likely to get floaters if you’re very nearsighted (myopic) and are over 50.

When should I be concerned about floaters?

Call Accent Vision Specialists if you notice:

  • Sudden onset floaters
  • Flashes of light
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Eye pain

If you have these symptoms, you could have a retinal tear. A retinal tear can lead to a retinal detachment, where the retina separates from the back wall of your eye. A retinal detachment is an emergency and requires treatment to prevent vision loss.

If your floaters are severe enough to interfere with your vision, your optometric physician will refer you to a retinal specialist. Although rare, it’s sometimes necessary to undergo surgery or laser treatment that targets the clumped vitreous in your eye in order to restore your vision.

If you’re concerned about those floaters in your field of vision, schedule an appointment at Accent Vision Specialists over the phone today.