What Is The Main Cause Of Eye Floaters
What causes eye floaters to drift across your eyeballs? Where did they come from, where do they go, and is it perfectly normal or a sign of something bigger at play needing attention? Glad you asked. Let me give you the facts about eye floaters.
What Are Eye Floaters & Should I Be Concerned
Eye floaters are spots, lines, waves, or shapes that you see most clearly when you look at a solid colour, like a wall or the sky and cannot flush out or blinked away. They may look like specks, strings, cobwebs, lightning bolts, or random shapes that drift about in your visual field when you move your eyes and then appear to vanish or move away when you look directly at them.
Most eye floaters are caused by changes that occur to the eyeball lining as we age. Microscopic cells are shed within the vitreous fluid that clumps together, forming shadows on your retina. The shadows you see are what we call floaters.
In most cases, floaters are normal and harmless with no cause for concern. However, a sudden increase in their number may indicate damage due to a retinal tear or something more serious like glaucoma and that is a cause for investigation.
The most common causes need no treatment, do not prevent your normal visuals and tend to settle by themselves. One day they are there, and then you notice they are gone the next. However, flashes and floaters can occasionally be warning symptoms of a retinal tear or retinal detachment.
Haloes are bright circles surrounding a source of light. They are a common symptom in older people and can be unpleasant and uncomfortable to experience. Sufferers may particularly be affected by these haloes while night driving. They can sometimes be an early predictor of an underlying eye condition such as glaucoma.
The Three Most Common Retinal Disorders
The retina is a thin lining on the back of your eye that is made up of cells that collect images and pass them on to your brain. Retinal disorders can damage the retinal cells and block the ability of the brain to receive the image transfer. There are different causes of retinal disorders.
- Age-related macular degeneration refers to a breakdown of a small portion of the retina called the macula. Macular degeneration causes loss in the centre of the field of vision.
- Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the blood vessels in your retina caused by diabetes.
- Retinal detachment happens when the retina separates from the layer underneath.
If you are reading this and recognise the symptoms, it is important to visit your optometrist for an early diagnosis and have these conditions treated by a specialist.
Time To Dissolve Is The Only Non-Surgical Treatment For Eye Floaters
If floaters are causing you problems, you can try looking up and down and from side to side to move the floater out of the way. However, it won’t work in most cases, and there is nothing you can do about it until it resolves itself by breaking down. Some people may find floaters troublesome, but on the whole, they are harmless. It can take from one month to six months for the cells to break down, and in some cases where they are large, they may never disappear completely or require surgical intervention.
First Aid For Eye Injuries
While floaters are not, in most cases, any cause for concern, would you be able to look into someone’s eyes and immediately tell if there was something wrong? What would you do if a child accidentally had their eyeball poked out, or had debris embedded in the eye? As with everything in life, we take our vision for granted. Taking a First Aid course or refresher First Aid course might be on the cards if you don’t know what to do in the above situations.
When Do I Seek Help For Eye Floaters
Seek help for any sudden eye changes, vision loss, tunnel vision, or black spots. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a sudden increase in the number of floaters, especially if they are accompanied by flashing lights or large floaters. This is especially important if you are short-sighted or have had any recent eye surgery.
Eye care professionals use specialised equipment to examine the vitreous humour and the retina to determine if there has been any tearing or detachment of the retina. If retinal detachment has occurred, it is treated with surgery.
Flashing Lights’ Auras’, ‘Haloes’ And Floaters
Sometimes, floaters can be associated with flashing lights called ‘auras’ or ‘haloes’. These light displays are most apparent when the eyes are closed or in dark rooms and can be caused by several conditions and factors.
- Vitreous humour pulling at the retina when you rub your eyes
- Retinal detachment
- Migraine – with or without associated headaches
- Hypotension – getting up quickly from sitting or lying down that result in dizziness or a vision disturbance
- High blood pressure
- Blunt force trauma to the eye as in a punch or blow to the eye area.
Do Eye Floaters Increase With Age
Yes! Eye floaters increase in frequency with age due to changes that occur in the retinal lining. The retina is a thin film that lines the inside of the eyeballs and consists of light-sensitive cells known as rods and cones. Rods and cones detect light, shape, colours, and patterns and then pass the information to nerve fibres that relay the information to your brain. As we age, like all our corporal body parts, the eyes degenerate, and floaters are merely one sign that our eyes are ageing, and our vision isn’t what it once was.
Take A Basic First Aid Course
If you never have, now is the perfect time to take a basic First Aid course with a nationally accredited and registered training organisation. FACE offers a range of courses and delivery options with over 120 locations Australia-wide.
Check out the FACE Blog page for some interesting facts on First Aid topics or trending medical issues. Take the simple First Aid Quiz and see what First Aid knowledge skills you have.