People usually experience eye floaters at least once during their lifetime. Eye floaters are tiny specks, cobwebs, or squiggly lines that appear to float across the field of vision, especially when looking at a bright background or the sky.
What causes eye floaters?
The most common reason people develop eye floaters is due to age-related changes in the vitreous, which is the gel-like substance that fills the back of the eye. As people age, the vitreous becomes less gel-like and more liquid, which can cause it to pull away from the retina and form clumps or strands. These clumps or strands can cast shadows on the retina, which appear as floaters in the visual field.
That said, you shouldn’t ignore eye floaters because they can sometimes be the result of a more serious eye condition. Some of the serious eye conditions in which eye floaters are a symptom include the following:
Posterior vitreous detachment
This is a common condition that occurs when the vitreous gel inside the eye separates from the retina. PVD can cause the appearance of floaters, flashes of light, and a sudden increase in the number of floaters.
A retinal tear is a condition where the retina, the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye, is torn. Floaters are often the first symptom of a retinal tear, and it is important to seek medical attention immediately to prevent a more severe condition from developing.
A retinal detachment occurs when the retina becomes separated from the underlying tissue that provides it with oxygen and nutrients. Floaters are a common symptom of retinal detachment, along with flashes of light and blurred vision.
Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. Floaters are a common symptom of uveitis, along with redness, pain, and sensitivity to light.
Bleeding in the eye
Eye bleeding, also known as vitreous hemorrhage, is a condition where blood leaks into the vitreous gel inside the eye. This can cause the appearance of floaters, along with blurred vision and a loss of vision.
If you are experiencing floaters, it’s important to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Your doctor can determine the underlying cause and recommend the best course of action, whether it’s simply monitoring them or undergoing treatment. If you’re seeing eye floaters or have other eye concerns, contact us today to schedule an eye exam in Council Bluffs, Iowa, or Omaha, Nebraska.