Eye floaters can be described as small spots or squiggles that move around in your field of vision. While they can show up at any time, they most commonly appear after looking at something bright such as the daytime sky.
In most cases, eye floaters are harmless and won’t interfere with your vision. People become so used to living with them that they either don’t notice them, or they’re able to blink a few times and make them disappear.
However, there are times when eye floaters can be a cause for concern. Let’s discuss what is “normal” and “not normal” when it comes to eye floaters.
What Causes Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters are very common. As a matter of fact, 7 out of 10 people will experience them at some time in their lives.
Eye floaters are an ordinary part of the aging process because the clear substance inside the eye (vitreous gel) changes with age. When the vitreous gel shrinks or thickens, particles form in the gel. These small flecks of protein block light that passes through the eye, which then casts shadows on the retina. What you see, as a result, are floaters.
What’s Normal for Eye Floaters?
Here are some signs that the eye floaters you are seeing are completely normal.
● They occur when looking at something bright.
● They occur when looking at a plain, light-colored background.
● They do not interfere with your vision.
● You’ve always seen floaters, and what you’re experiencing now is no different.
When is it Not Normal?
Sometimes, eye floaters can indicate a more serious problem. If the tugging on the vitreous gel tears the retina and detaches from the eye, you will end up with retinal detachment. Seeking a retinal specialist is crucial at this point because without proper treatment, you could lose your vision.
Signs that you could have retinal detachment include:
● A big increase in the number of floaters you’re seeing.
● Seeing floaters and flashes for the first time.
● Loss of peripheral vision.
● Vision that is blurred or distorted.
If you have any of the above symptoms, visit your ophthalmologist right away. While benign floaters do not require any treatment, retinal detachment does. Treatment options include laser treatment or surgery, and without it, you risk losing your vision.