If you’ve ever seen something that looks like specks, strings or cobwebs that drift around when you move your eye, but then appear to dart away when you try to look at them directly, you probably have eye floaters.
Eye floaters are spots in your vision and most are caused by age-related changes that occur when the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and can cast tiny shadows on your retina. The shadows you see are called floaters.
Another cause for eye floaters includes inflammation in the back of the eye. Posterior uveitis is inflammation in the layers of the uvea in the back of the eye. Posterior uveitis may be caused by infection, inflammatory diseases or other causes.
Blood cells are also seen as floaters. Bleeding in the eye may be caused by medications or eye surgeries. Bleeding in the vitreous can have many causes, including diabetes, hypertension, blocked blood vessels and injury.
Some factors that increase your risk of floaters include nearsightedness, eye trauma, complications from cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy, or age related changes if you’re over age 50.
If you see light flashes, see a sudden increase in eye floaters or lose your peripheral vision, contact an optometric physician immediately. These painless symptoms could be caused by a retinal tear, with or without a retinal detachment – a sight-threatening condition that requires immediate attention.
William C. Womble, O.D.
1822 Huntsville Hwy., Suite D
Fayetteville, TN 37334