Oral & Vision Health Blog

Are Eye Floaters a Serious Vision Problem?

It's a bright sunny day. Your eyesight is clear, until you see something float across your eye. You think it's something outside but the same speck moves with you to the next object. You stare right at it, and it disappears or tries to run. Freaking out is normal; something is clearly wrong with your eye. However, is it a cause for concern?

That "something," that "speck," is called a floater. It casts a shadow over your vision. It's more noticeable in light or white space. It can come in many shapes: black/grey dots, squiggly lines, cobwebs, ring shaped and transparent-looking threadline strands. But the question is: Are floaters a serious vision problem?

The short answer: maybe.

The long answer: The only thing they cause for most people is annoyance. They’re in your realm of vision and won't move to the side so you can focus. When you do focus on the floater, it moves away from your vision or it disappears from view. Symptoms usually improve over time and may possibly go away. You can learn to ignore them, too. Out of control floaters, however, come from a sudden increase of them all at once. It may come with flashes of light, headaches or peripheral vision loss. That's when you need to contact an eye doctor. Immediate medical attention is required; ignoring it at this stage may cause permanent loss of vision.

Some of the causes include:

  • Retinal detachment
  • Retinal tears
  • Internal eye bleeding
  • Eye injury
  • Eye disease
  • Eye tumors Infections   
  • Inflammation 

In most instances, however, it comes as a part of the aging process. And, overall, floaters are not a serious problem. You’ll be able to tell whether they are getting worse or better over time. Once you notice them, pay attention to how many you see and how often they appear. Typically, they stay the same or get better. If they get worse, contact your eye doctor immediately.

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