What are eye floaters?

As warmer weather is right around the corner, many of us will think of “floaters” as devices we’ll use at the pool, lake or in the rivers that surround us in Wisconsin and the U.P.

In the eye care world though, the term has another meaning. To eye doctors, floaters are small pieces of debris inside of the eye that affect a patient’s field of vision. Most floaters are benign and are present at birth, however new onset floaters need to be evaluated by an eye care professional. It is important to know the difference.

Normal floaters are small pieces of protein material that “float” within the eye’s vitreous, the jelly-like material that fills the inside of the eye. When you “see” the floater it is actually the shadow the debris casts on the retina, similar to a shadow seen on a screen when a particle of dust moves in front of a projector. These floaters are remnants of blood vessels that were used to develop the eye when in the womb. Though normal floaters are annoying, they are common. They are also generally not serious and rarely require intervention.

The spots caused by eye floaters are most easily seen against a bright uniform background such as a white wall or cloudless blue sky; they are often best seen in your periphery vision. When you try to look directly at a floater, it will quickly move out of your field of vision.

Recent onset floaters, or “new floaters,” are a different story. It is common for a person to experience a drastic increase in the amount of floaters, combined with light flashes. If this occurs it is important to have an eye care professional perform a dilated eye exam to rule out a retinal detachment or tear. People most at risk for “new floaters” are those who:

  • are over age 50
  • have experienced inflammation in the eye or eye trauma
  • are nearsighted, or cannot see distant objects
  • have had bleeding in the eye
  • suffer from diabetic retinopathy
  • have suffered a torn or detached retina

The cause for recent onset floaters is simple. As people age, the vitreous thickens or shrinks which can cause cells to clump or strands to form. Floaters also can form as the result of posterior vitreous detachment – when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye as it begins to clump.

If floaters are affecting your life, or if you are experiencing an increased amount of floaters, it is important to call Tower Clock Eye Center to schedule an appointment at 920 499-3102.

 

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Posted in: Blog, New Announcements, Uncategorized

Latest News

12.06.21

Flex Spending Accounts (FSAs): What to know

As 2021 is quickly coming to an end, there are only a few weeks remaining to use your Flex Spending Account (FSA) dollars on eligible heath care products and services at Tower Clock Eye Center. We get a lot of questions about which eye care-related expenses can be used with a FSA. Below is some... read more

12.01.21

Winter sun eye care

Many people believe that once summer is gone it’s time to put away the sunglasses, but wearing your shades is crucial for winter sun eye care. True, winter’s rays aren’t as direct as they are during the summer, yet the effects of the winter sun can be just as dangerous. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are dangerous... read more

Locate Our Office

Green Bay Office

1087 West Mason St
Green Bay, WI 54303

» Get Directions

Shawano Office

229 East Green Bay Street
Shawano, WI 54166

» Get Directions

Oconto Office & Medical Center

820 Arbutus Ave
Oconto, WI 54153

» Get Directions

Tower Clock Surgery Center

1077 West Mason Street
Green Bay, WI 54303

» Get Directions

Appleton Office

1301 E Northland Ave
Appleton, WI 54911

» Get Directions

Manitowoc Office

2300 Western Ave
Manitowoc, WI 54220

» Get Directions