The Cause of Floaters in Your Eye and When You Should Visit an Eye Doctor

Here at our office, we don't just provide innovative surgical options. Young H. Choi MD can also answer any questions you may have about your eyes. We know that a potential eye problem can be alarming, so we're here to put to rest any fears that you might have and find you the treatments you need. One common question we get is about floaters in the eye. What are these eye floaters? Could they be a sign of a problem? Read on to find out more about them.

What Are These Floaters In My Eye?

Eye floaters are spots in your vision that might look like black specks or strings. Usually, if you try to look at them, they seem to float away out of your line of sight. They are easiest to spot when you're looking at a plain and bright space, like a clear sky or a wall that's painted in a lighter shade.

These floaters are usually caused by changes that occur in your eye as you age. The formation of eye floaters can become far more common once you turn 50. If you've had cataract surgery before or are nearsighted, you'll be more likely to develop them. There's a substance in your eyes known as vitreous. This substance is similar in composition to jelly. As you get older, it becomes more like a liquid. The tiny protein fibers inside of the vitreous can clump together to cast small shadows on your retina. When that happens, you'll see them as floaters.

Should I Be Worried?

Most of the time, the floaters in your eye are nothing to worry about. It's a natural occurrence that happens more often as you get older. However, there are a few cases where you should contact us.

In some cases, a sudden and marked increase in eye floaters can be a sign of something else. This is especially true if you encounter some other symptoms at the same time. Suddenly losing your peripheral vision or seeing flashes of light can both be red flags that you need the assistance of a specialist. These symptoms could be indicative of a retinal tear, which can harm your sight. This is something that needs to be checked out immediately. If you experience any kind of pain that comes along with the increase in floaters, it could also be a good time to talk to a doctor.

Occasionally inflammation in the eye can also cause more floaters to form. Posterior uveitis is one such condition. Another potential trigger for the formation of more eye floaters are complications from cataract surgery. If you've recently had surgery, you'll want to contact a specialist if you suddenly see more floaters. In fact, if you've noticed an increase in floaters after any kind of eye surgery, it's a good idea to talk to a doctor. Rarely, floaters can be a sign of eye tumors.

If you think that your eye floaters are a sign of a larger issue, please contact us right away. Dr. Young M. Choi is ready to assist you with any of your vision needs.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.