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Eye Floaters - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on May 27, 2020   -  3 min read



The black or grey specks or strings that some people see moving in their eyes are called eye floaters. Learn about its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

Eye Floaters - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Eyes let you see the beautiful world outside. Sometimes, the vision may be disturbed because of the presence of spots in the vision. The person may see black or grey specks, strings, etc., while moving the eyes, which may disappear while trying to look at them directly.

If there is any presence of such eye floaters, you should immediately contact your physician, more specifically eye specialist or an ophthalmologist, especially if you can see light flashes suddenly or you experience loss of peripheral vision.

What Are the Symptoms?

There can be various symptoms that might help to diagnose this condition, which are as follows:

1. Any small shapes present in the vision that can be visualized as dark specks, any transparent string of material in a floating manner.

2. Presence of moving spots while moving the eyes, which disappears while trying to look directly at it.

3. Presence of any spot while staring at a plain background.

4. Presence of small shapes that subside on its own.

When Should I Consult a Physician?

Immediate consultation with an eye specialist is important in the following cases:

1. Increased eye floaters than usual.

2. Presence or emergence of eye floaters suddenly.

3. Eye floaters, along with flashes of light in the same eye.

4. Any peripheral vision loss characterized by darkness on any side of the vision.

These are mostly painless symptoms but are of much importance and can be caused by a retinal tear, which can be or cannot be attached with retinal detachment and again is a very important condition that needs immediate medical attention.

How Is It Caused?

Eye floaters can be usually caused due to old age or can be associated with any there underlying medical condition. The following can cause eye floaters:

1. Age-related changes in the eye: The shape of the vitreous-jelly like substance that fills the eyeball changes and can cause this. Also, with time, it may liquefy that leads to pulling away from the interior surface of the eyeball.

2. Presence of inflammation in the backside of the eyes.

3. The occurrence of bleeding in the eye due to diabetes, hypertension, injury, etc.

4. Tearing of the retina: If it is not treated, it can lead to retinal detachment and, ultimately permanent vision loss.

5. Any previous history of eye surgery or usage of any medications. Some medications have the capability to form bubbles when injected into the vitreous. Now, these bubbles can appear as shadows, but once they are absorbed completely by the eye, it disappears.

Risk Factors:

Some factors can increase the chances of getting eye floaters and they are as follows:

1. Individuals who are above 50 years of age.

2. Individuals with nearsightedness or myopia.

3. Any injury to the eye.

4. Any complications due to cataract surgery.

5. Diabetes complications like diabetic retinopathy.

6. Any inflammation of the eye.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

When you visit your physician, he or she will initially ask questions about your personal history, medical history, and symptoms you are facing. Following that, certain tests will be conducted to check your eye status. The complete eye exam includes dilation of the eye to check the back of the eyes and vitreous so that the cause of the eye floaters can be determined.

How Can It Be Treated?

Initially, it is important to manage the underlying cause of eye floaters like diabetes, hypertension, etc. It is important to note that most of the cases do not require management. Eye floaters can frustrate the individual and the individual will take time to adjust to it.

But, in case it is severe, it might need medical attention and the available treatment includes the following:

1. Surgery: This can be done to remove the vitreous.

2. Laser: This can help in disrupting the floaters.

Eye floaters can be normal or pathologic, but it needs immediate medical attention in case of severe conditions. It can affect normal life if not managed early. With the help of online medical platforms, you can now consult a specialist or physician at the ease of your home.


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Last reviewed at:
27 May 2020  -  3 min read


Dr. Pooja Pandya

Dr. Pooja Pandya


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