You see a strange-shaped figure in your vision that looks like cobwebs or specks of dust but, what are they? You may have experienced eye floaters at one point in your life but have you ever wondered what causes them? Eye floaters are caused by a detachment from the vitreous in the eye. The vitreous is a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain it’s round shape. Millions of fibers run through the vitreous and attach to the retina. When these fibers break, detach, or begin to shrink, people begin to see floaters in there vision. Although these floaters should not cause immediate alarm, they should be monitored carefully, so they do not cause further problems.
What Are Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters are small spots in your vision that can take a variety of forms. Some eye floaters have been noted to look like cobwebs, strings, and other odd shapes. In addition to the vitreous detachment, temporary floaters can be caused by looking at something very bright. Other causes could be more serious like eye diseases, injuries to the eyes, infection, or even inflammation of the eyes. Enough floaters in your eyes could cause a problem, and there is a time when you should seek treatment from a healthcare professional.
Over time, the vitreous changes and can affect our vision. The vitreous can sometimes begin to liquify and detach from the retina otherwise known as retina detachment. With the vitreous shrinking or liquifying, it can clump together causing floaters in one’s vision. Inflammation or bleeding in the eye can cause eye floaters. Blood cells in the vitreous can be seen as floaters. Inflammation in the back of the eye can cause eye floaters by having inflammatory debris enter into the vitreous.
In extreme cases, treatment options can include surgery to replace the vitreous. Replacing the vitreous is called a vitrectomy. A vitrectomy is not common in these cases, and other options can be pursued beforehand. If eye floaters are clouding your vision, laser surgery can be used to help alleviate them. Consistent follow-up exams will be needed for either procedure.
If you have consistent or lasting eye floaters for over several weeks, visit your eye doctor for treatment options!