Bothered by Floaters?

At one time or another, many of us have noticed floaters in our vision. What are they and when is it a cause for concern?
The inside of the eye is filled with a clear jelly called the vitreous, which is a matrix of collagen fibers and water. In children, it is quite solid and fills the eye completely. As we age, the vitreous shrinks and liquefies, causing the collagen fibers to clump together and float around. Then they can be seen in one’s vision, especially if looking at a white wall or a blue sky. Some people describe them as black dots, squiggly lines, or cobwebs. They are more common in people who are nearsighted, over age 40, or who have a history of eye injuries or surgery. A few floaters are usually normal and not a cause for concern.
Some patients will experience the sudden appearance of a large, central floater in their vision which may be accompanied by flashing lights. This is often a sign of something called a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). The vitreous is attached to the retina with a fibrous ring which will sometimes detach and cause a sudden large central floater to appear. When this occurs, it may cause a tear in the retina, which can lead to a retinal detachment. Therefore if you notice a sudden large floater in your vision, you should call for an appointment so that we can be sure it isn’t accompanied by a retinal tear or a retinal detachment. Especially if the floater is associated with flashing lights, a dilated eye exam is required as soon as possible. If a retinal tear is found, it can be treated before it turns into a retinal detachment.
Some floaters become less noticeable over time but others are persistent and can cause significant problems. For patients with chronic, symptomatic floaters we offer Ellex Laser treatment. This is an in-office procedure where the doctor uses a laser to evaporate the clumps of collagen within the eye and reduce them to a size that no longer interferes with vision. Ellex laser treatment is especially effective for large, central floaters. If you would like to learn more about laser treatment for floaters or find out if you are a good candidate, schedule a comprehensive eye exam today!