As you get older, you might begin to notice strings or spider webs in your field of vision. These are called floaters, and they’re generally harmless. At Primary Eyecare Associates in Troy, Michigan, the experienced optometrists conduct eye exams to make sure your floaters don’t indicate an underlying eye health condition or serious issue such as retinal detachment. For more information about floaters and your eye health, call Primary Eyecare Associates, or book an appointment online today.
Floaters are the faint, squiggly strings or spots that you might notice in your peripheral vision. When you try to look at them or focus your vision for a clearer view, they seem to move out of the way.
Floaters develop because of changes that occur in your eye as you age. The gel inside your eyes, called the vitreous, becomes smaller with age. The changes also cause it to take on a stringy texture. The shadows of the vitreous strands are cast on your retina, the part of your eye that detects light. With floaters, you see these shadows.
Flashes are not quite the same as floaters but can be equally distracting. They appear as sparks or flashes of light in your field of vision. Like floaters, flashes develop because of the changes in the vitreous of your eyes. If the vitreous bumps or rubs against your retina, you might see flashes in your vision.
Floaters and flashes are normally harmless and do not require treatment from an optometrist. However, excessive flashes or floaters could indicate a retinal tear or detachment. A retinal detachment is an emergency, and you should seek care as soon as you notice the signs.
You need treatment right away if you notice:
Without fast treatment, a retinal detachment can cause total blindness within days of the onset of your symptoms. If floaters or flashes concern you, but you don’t have any additional symptoms, Primary Eyecare Associates can conduct an eye exam to evaluate the health of your retina and vitreous. They may use imaging tests like a B-scan ultrasound, digital retinal imaging, or optical coherence tomography to determine the best course of treatment for your floaters and flashers.
If your floaters don’t severely impede your vision, you may not need treatment at all. Rarely, they become so numerous or severe that you can no longer see well. In cases like this, your optometrist at Primary Eyecare Associates might recommend a surgery called a vitrectomy. They refer you to a specialist for this procedure, who removes the vitreous from your eye.
If your optometrist finds that you have a retinal tear or detachment, they may refer you to a surgeon to prevent the tear from worsening or to reattach your retina.
For comprehensive care of floaters and flashes, call Primary Eyecare Associates, or request an appointment online today.