Floaters are most commonly an accumulation of protein fibers within the vitreous jelly that develop overtime. However, a sudden onset of a shower of floaters or red floaters can be an indication of a retinal tear or detachment and warrant immediate examination by an eye care professional.
What causes Floaters?
Floaters are often a benign occurrence that is more of a hindrance than an actual eye problem. Some people are more prone to them than others which is solely based on genetics. Overtime, the brain can neuro-adapt to these floaters, which simply means it gets used to their presence and will slowly begin to ignore them.
Symptoms of Floaters
They appear as grayish specks within your vision that move when your head turns. Often times they appear like tiny spots or stringy filaments. People often report that they look like gnats and will swat at them not realizing they are floaters. They can also be noticed when reading a book, looking up at the sky, etc.
How Are They Treated?
There are some treatments advertised for removing floaters. These include using a laser to dissolve them or performing a vitrectomy to remove the vitreous jelly from which they are contained. It is important to note that these are risky surgeries that can potentially induce eye problems such as retinal tears, detachments, and infections which often outweigh any benefit of the surgery since most people often have good vision with the floaters. Therefore, it is often recommended that the patient try to adapt to them before taking any surgical steps since the floaters themselves are harmless.
What You Can Do
There is currently no way for people to prevent the development of floaters. However, knowing what they are can put a person’s mind at ease. It is also important to know when floaters aren’t normal, i.e. a sudden onset of multiple floaters, that way you can seek immediate eye care.
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