What Is the Main Cause of Eye Floaters?

If you have ever experienced a small, dark spot in your vision, you probably wondered what it was and whether it was normal. Those small dark spots are called eye floaters. They are usually gray or black and look like dots, specks, squiggly lines, or cobwebs. Dr. Kyle Linsey, Dr. Jorge Malouf, and Dr. Tanya Perich, the board certified ophthalmologists at Clearwater Eye and Laser Center in Clearwater, FL, treat eye floaters, as well as other vision and eye-related conditions. 

Eye Floaters and their Cause

Eye floaters can look like dots, specks, squiggly lines, threadlike strands, cobwebs, or even rings. They move around in the eye and appear to dart away when attempting to focus on them. Floaters are more likely to develop in individuals who are nearsighted, have had cataract surgery, have had inflammation inside the eye, or are between the ages of 50 and 75 years.

Floaters are actually caused by bits of collagen floating around in the vitreous, which is a gel-like substance located at the back of the eye. As we age, the collagen fibers in the vitreous sometimes begin shrinking down into small fibrous shreds that then clump together and cause eye floaters. When you notice a floater, you are actually seeing the shadow that is cast on the retina by the clump of collagen floating around in the vitreous. 

Treating Eye Floaters

Eye floaters are not usually serious and generally do not interfere with your vision. They either go away eventually or become less noticeable over time. It is possible to have floaters surgically removed, but it really isn’t necessary. 

Floaters do not require treatment in most cases. However, it is important to see an ophthalmologist at our office in Clearwater, FL, about eye floaters if you suddenly develop new ones, existing ones have changed significantly, or you are seeing flashes in your field of vision. In rare instances, eye floaters can develop from an eye injury, diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease, or a tumor in the eye. In such cases, the underlying cause should be treated. 

Eye floaters are usually not a major cause for concern, but it is a good idea to have your eyes checked anyway to rule out more serious causes. Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Linsey, Dr. Malouf, or Dr. Perich to determine the cause of your eye floaters by calling Clearwater Eye and Laser Center in Clearwater, FL, at (727) 446-7578.

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