Are Floaters a Concern?

Are Floaters a Concern?

Eye floaters are common: They’re spots that seem to float before you, typically more obvious when you’re looking at a solid color, like a bright wall or blue sky. Your eyes may seem to be alive with drifting shapes and shadows. Normally, you don’t notice them except for these occasional instances. 

Usually, eye floaters are nothing to worry about, a normal part of your vision. As you get older, changes to your eyes may make floaters more numerous, but this, too, is normal. But, in some situations, a sudden increase in the number of floaters may be a sign that something is wrong. 

Whenever you have a concern about floaters or any other aspect of your eyesight, visit IC Laser Eye Care to rule out serious conditions. With three practices — in Philadelphia, Bensalem, and Hamilton, New Jersey — there’s an office close to you. 

The reasons behind common floaters

Most floaters reside in the vitreous, the thick, gel-like substance that fills your eyeballs. The vitreous helps to stabilize the shape of your eyes, critical for proper focus of light on your retinas. While mostly composed of water, the vitreous also has collagen and other proteins, salts and sugars. 

Its composition changes over time, becoming more liquid. Protein clumps can form and suspend themselves in the vitreous. It’s the shadows of these suspended clumps falling on the retina that creates the images you see as floaters. 

While these normally occurring floaters are usually not an issue, some people can develop so many that their vision is disrupted. IC Laser Eye Care can perform a procedure to break up floaters using a specially focused laser. The smaller particles are often less distracting. 

When floaters require medical attention 

It’s normal for the number of floaters to increase as you get older and the vitreous breaks down, but this is a slow process, and the increase is slow. 

The rapid emergence of new floaters could be a sign that something’s wrong. Over a period of weeks or months, new floaters appear, and they may do so in large numbers. This can happen in one eye or both. A sudden change in the nature of your floaters is a reason to contact IC Laser Eye Care as soon as you notice. 

Flashes of light are another change that requires urgent follow-up. These are spontaneous appearances, not caused by a real-world light source. Flashes may accompany an increase of floaters in one eye. 

Darkness at the side of your vision is another symptom that may occur along with an increase in the number of floaters you notice. This can be on one or multiple sides, along any edge of your peripheral vision. 

These symptoms may indicate that you’re developing a torn or detached retina, a serious vision-threatening condition. Your sight can be preserved, but it requires prompt attention. Contact IC Laser Eye Care at the nearest location by phone or online, and stress the urgency of your symptoms. Don’t hesitate out of doubt when floaters appear. Book your exam now.   

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