What are floaters in the eyes?
Floaters or floating bodies are clusters of collagen cells stuck together that appear over the years due to the natural dehydration suffered by the eye. They are located within the eye forming part of the vitreous humor, the transparent gel that fills and gives the eye its shape.
How do floaters present?
Floaters appear as a cluster of small moving spots, dots or strands suspended in the field of vision. They are spots that obstruct the vision and move with ocular movements although they don’t usually follow the movement of the eyes exactly. They give the impression that they are moving when we try to look at them or move slowly when we fix them with our gaze.
They are perceived more clearly on homogenously-illuminated surfaces with a lot of background light such as computers or digital screens in general, or when looking at the sky on a clear day.
Causes of floaters
As we age, the gelatinous material of the vitreous humor can thicken or shrink, causing agglutination in the eye and resulting in the separation of the retina.
It is common in myopic patients, patients treated for cataracts or those having undergone laser eye surgery. Other causes of the appearance of floaters are diabetes, trauma or blows and, to a lesser extent, they may be associated with serious ocular diseases such as uveitis, vitreous hemorrhage or detachment of the retina. Fatigue, stress and anxiety can exacerbate the effects in patients affected by floaters.
How can the appearance of floaters be prevented?
It is not currently possible to prevent the appearance offloaters but, in many cases, their early detection helps to prevent related ocular diseases. We recommend consulting your ophthalmologist if the following suddenly occur:
- Appearance of floating bodies in your field of vision.
- Flashes of light.
- Loss of lateral vision.
How can floaters be treated?
The medical procedure varies depending on the underlying pathology and if the patient’s vision is affected.
When there is significant visual incapacity, a surgical vitrectomy is performed which consists of replacing the vitreous humor with a saline solution.
At CEMO Vilanova, we prefer less invasive solutions for the patient and, as far as possible, we opt for vitreolysis which, using a YAG Ellex laser, breaks up the vitreous opacities so that they don’t affect the vision.
We always recommend consulting the ophthalmologist when the first symptoms appears to assess the possible causes of the appearance offloaters and their treatment.