Have you ever seen drifting spots, cobwebs or shadows in your vision? We call those visual floaters. In this article, we’re covering the three things that everyone needs to know about this common ocular condition. So let’s take a look.
What are eye floaters?
So visual floaters are actually one of the more common complaints that an eye doctor hears about every single day. If you’ve never experienced them, they show up as little spots just like gnats or bugs that seemed to drift or move out of our vision. As well as cobwebs that when you try to look at them, seem to always drift and move out of your way. So you can never quite catch up with them when these are a new experiences for somebody that can be pretty scary. I want you to realize what’s going on so that you can get it treated and taken care of right away. So let’s go over my top three things you need to know about visual floaters.
Floaters are a normal part of aging.
Number one is that floaters are a normal part of aging. There’s a gel that sits inside the eye. We call it the vitreous humor. It takes about 90% of the eyes' volume, keeps the eye's shape, and acts almost like a cushion for the eye in any sort of episode of trauma.
This gel actually degrades over time into more of a liquid when that happens the pieces of the collagen of the gel that are left start to form little deposits and strands. They sit inside that liquid and that’s what gives us that floating appearance as it kind of drifts back and forth when light enters the eye and hits those deposits. It causes light to scatter, giving us kind of a shadow image onto the retina on the back of the eye. That’s exactly why we see floaters.
Floaters are a normal part of aging and if you hit around the age of 60 or higher, you already have a 25% chance of having these floaters. If you reach the age of 80, you’re at about a 66% chance. But it’s not just due to age, there are some eye conditions that predispose you to have these floaters earlier on such as being very nearsighted. Floaters are generally a normal experience for everyone as we get older and even more so for people who have a higher prescription.
Eye Floaters Treatments
So the third thing that everybody needs to know about floaters is the treatment options available. For floaters, there are generally two different treatments. One is what are we called a vite trek. This is the oldest type of procedure for correcting floaters. It surgically removes the gel from inside the eye, and sucks it out while simultaneously putting a new fluid inside the eye to keep the eyes shape and keep the eye pressure. It removes all the gel so all the floaters go with it. The reason why many doctors don’t recommend this procedure is that there’s a higher rate of complications. You’re only a good candidate for the procedure if your vision is significantly affected by these floaters.
The other option actually came out pretty recently. The development of a new laser procedure where they can zap away the floaters inside the eye. It has a higher success rate but still has small complications.