Should I see a doctor about my floaters?

Everybody has them occasionally: those squiggly, shadowy lines or spots that make their way across your line of sight. They don’t hurt, and they (usually) come and go quickly – but beyond wondering what they are, you may have wondered if your floaters are something you should see a doctor about. 

What are floaters?

Attached to the retina there is a thick, jelly-like gel known as “vitreous.” As we get older, the vitreous becomes thinner and pulls away from the retina, and any tissue that was once attached firmly to the retina becomes loose and starts to move around. This causes a shadow on the back of the eye, resulting in “floaters” – those wavy lines, dots, or cobwebby shapes that move around our eye at random times. 

When you should see a doctor about floaters

Floaters are actually quite common, and their incidence increases as we get older. Typically they are nothing to worry about. However, there are some times when you should be concerned about floaters. See your doctor right away if you notice any of these changes: 

  • There is a sudden increase in floaters
  • There is a loss in peripheral vision
  • There is what looks like a dark shadow or a grey curtain affecting your vision
  • You suddenly notice floaters for the first time or they get more frequent after an eye infection or an eye injury
  • You are also having flashes of light along with your floaters, similar to the light of a camera flash

What can I do about floaters?

If you don’t have any of the above symptoms and your floaters aren’t seriously impacting how you see or live, it is quite possible that doing nothing is the best course of action. Over time, you may just not notice them as much. However, if you want treatment for floaters, laser treatment is an option. This procedure is noninvasive, causes very little discomfort, and can set your mind at ease about having floaters.     

Southside Eye Care offers laser treatment for floaters, as well as comprehensive eye exams and help for conditions such as glaucoma or cataracts. Call (757) 484-0101 for an appointment today.


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