Eye Floaters: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A senior woman touches her temples while looking at herself in the mirror

If there’s debris on your contact lenses or watermarks and scratches on your glasses, then you’re likely to see dark specs or even strings when you’re wearing them. But what if these specs and strings are appearing in your vision even when you aren’t wearing lenses? If you’re experiencing this, then you’re likely dealing with eye floaters – a common and normally harmless eye condition.  

Eye Floaters 101

Eye floaters are more common with age, particularly in people ages 50 and up. They occur when the jelly-like substance within the eyes takes on more of a liquid state. Normally, eye floaters are harmless and will get smaller in time, eventually becoming too small for you to even notice. However, if you experience a sudden increase in floaters, and this onset is accompanied by other symptoms such as light flashes and/or even vision loss, it could be tied to an underlying condition, and you should seek eye floaters treatment immediately. In addition to older age, eye floaters risk factors include:

Eye Floaters Treatment

Like we said above, in most cases, eye floaters will not pose any sort of health threat and will become smaller and less noticeable over time. But for those who experience a surge of floaters accompanied by other symptoms, treatment should be immediately sought. In this case, eye floaters treatment is important because the additional symptoms could indicate a retinal tear – and if a retinal tear is not resolved in a quick manner, it could lead to permanent vision loss. A sudden surge in floaters may also be caused by inflammation or infection, eye bleeding, or a certain eye operation that an individual recently underwent.

If eye floaters need to be removed and/or underlying issues need to be addressed, there are two common treatment options that individuals typically undergo:

  • Vitrectomy: This is a surgical procedure that removes eye cavity gel, thereby allowing better access to the retina to resolve issues.
  • Laser treatment: In some cases, lasers can be used to successfully break up larger floaters. Being this treatment option is less invasive, it’s typically a preferred choice for both patients and doctors if applicable.

Eye Floaters After Cataract Surgery

A surge in floaters after cataract surgery is common, largely because such an operation results in better vision and is also more common among older individuals. Though an onset may be a result of complications from cataract surgery, eye floaters are usually not harmful following the operation. However, if they interfere too much with a person’s vision, undergoing either a vitrectomy or laser treatment are viable options for removing the floaters as well as addressing any other issues.

For more information on eye floaters, eye floaters treatment, and more, schedule an appointment at one of our eight locations. Or schedule a virtual visit with one of our doctors.