Floaters are spots or shapes that move through your visual field. At Eye Care Specialists, leading board-certified ophthalmologist and surgeon Mark Heimmel, MD, is a floaters expert with unique training in the eye problems that can cause this irritating phenomenon. While it’s normal to see some floaters, especially as you age, in some cases the floaters can become intrusive or may indicate a serious eye issue. Call the East Windsor, New Jersey, office or schedule an appointment online today to get help for floaters.
Floaters are spots or shapes that drift through your vision. They’re often especially noticeable when you’re looking at a bright background like a white wall or blue sky. Generally, floaters move out of your line of sight when you try to focus on them.
The most common reason to see floaters is natural age-related changes in the eye. The substance that fills your eye, the vitreous, is a gel-like substance when you’re young. As you age, the vitreous can start to break down and shrink.
These changes cause the vitreous to detach (posterior vitreous detachment) from the inside of the eye. The floaters are essentially tiny clumps of vitreous that splinter off during this detachment and cast shadows against your retina.
Floaters are particularly likely to happen if the vitreous pulls at the retina hard enough to tear it or if a retinal tear leads to the retina peeling off the back of your eye (retinal detachment).
Most people experience posterior vitreous detachment (and see at least some floaters) by age 70, but it can happen earlier if you’re nearsighted, have diabetes, experience eye trauma, or have cataract surgery.
You can also experience floaters when you have inflammation in the eye wall (uveitis), bleeding in the eye due to diabetes, or other issues. Some people may see floaters after eye surgery.
Most people see some floaters from time to time, and they’re generally not a cause for alarm. But, certain symptoms do demand emergency eye care. These include:
These symptoms could indicate a retinal tear or detachment and it’s important to seek immediate help at Eye Care Specialists in that situation.
If you have a retinal tear or retinal detachment, you need floaters treatment to save your eyesight. Dr. Heimmel performs floaters treatments in the office, such as laser therapy to repair retinal tears and prevent them from enlarging and progressing to retinal detachments.
If retinal detachment has already occurred, you’ll typically need emergency retina surgery.
Call Eye Care Specialists for help with floaters or schedule your appointment online today.