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What Should I do if I Am Seeing Floaters?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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In most cases, floaters in your field of vision are not a cause for alarm. If you are seeing a sudden, large number of floaters accompanied by flashing lights, you should see an eye doctor as soon as possible because you may be experiencing retinal detachment or some other serious eye problem. Most eye doctors agree that having a small number of floaters isn't a reason for concern, and most people develop at least a few of them at some point in their lives. If you are seeing floaters that are getting in the way of your direct line of sight, you might be able to move your eyes up and down to get them to slide away.

Floaters are small pieces of the vitreous substance that cover the outer layer of the eye. This layer has a gel-like consistency when most people are younger, and as they age the consistency of this layer becomes watery. Some pieces of this vitreous layer occasionally break off and float around in the watery center of the eye's outer layer. Many people find floaters slightly annoying when they are trying to look at a white piece of paper or a computer screen, but in general they do not cause any major problems. Other than eye surgery, which is typically not necessary, there is very little you can do to permanently get rid of your floaters.

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If you are seeing floaters, they might look like small cobwebs, dots, or little hairs in front of your eyes. As you get older, you may begin seeing floaters much more often. You might be able to keep your floaters from being too bothersome if you move your eyes around while you are reading or looking at a computer screen. Floaters can slide around in your eye's vitreous fluid, and it might be possible to move your eyes around enough to slide them out of the way. Even though floaters are not really considered serious, you might want to visit your eye doctor at least once a year if you have a problem with them.

In the event that you are seeing floaters accompanied by flashing lights or vision loss, it is very important that you see a doctor. These symptoms indicate retinal detachment, which is considered an eye emergency. If retinal detachment is caught early enough, an eye surgeon can often reattach the retina. Waiting too long to have your retina repaired with a retinal detachment means you may lose your vision completely in the affected eye.

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Buster29
Post 2

I've heard there is a surgical way to get rid of eye floaters, but they'll usually form again after a while. I remember seeing floaters for the first time when I was young, and I would "chase" them around my eye. Now I just ignore them or look off to the left or right to get them out of my field of vision.

Cageybird
Post 1

Eye floaters must come and go, since there are days when I don't notice a single floater and other days when I see clusters of them. I'm getting older, and I mostly notice them when I'm working on my computer. I asked my optometrist about floaters in the eye during my last exam, and he said the same thing as the article. Unless I had a large number of eye floaters and flashes, I just had to live with it.

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