Shadowy shapes drifting across your visual field are called floaters. Retina specialist Clinton Warren, MD, and the team at THIRDCOAST RETINA in Kenosha, Wisconsin, can examine your eyes for conditions that might contribute to them. To learn more about floaters, call THIRDCOAST RETINA or schedule an appointment online today.

What are floaters in my vision?

Floaters are little shadowy shapes that glide through your field of vision. They’re usually very faint and seem to move away from your direct field of vision when you try to focus on them. They can take on shapes like squiggles, webs, or dots. 

You get floaters because of the way your eye changes as you age. There is a gel-consistency substance inside your eyes called the vitreous. Over time, the vitreous shrinks, and tiny strands of it stick together. When those strands pass over your retina, you see floaters in your visual field. 

Floaters tend to come and go, and they’re such a mild issue that most people don’t need any treatment. However, if you get lots of floaters or they bother you, Dr. Warren and the team at THIRDCOAST RETINA can examine your eyes and determine whether you need treatment.

Am I at risk for floaters?

Eye floaters have several risk factors that Dr. Warren and the team can review with you during appointments at THIRDCOAST RETINA. While aging is the primary cause of floaters and most people experience them at some point, there are certain conditions and behaviors that increase your risk. 

You’re at an increased risk for floaters if you:

  • Are nearsighted
  • Have diabetes
  • Have had cataract surgery
  • Experience bleeding inside your eye
  • Experience eye inflammation 
  • Had an eye infection

While the majority of floaters aren’t a cause for concern, you should seek emergency care if you suddenly see many floaters or flashes of light. These are signs of a retinal tear or detachment, both of which are medical emergencies that can cost you your eyesight. 

Can I get rid of the floaters?

Several treatments can reduce the number or frequency of your floaters, though treatment is not necessary for most people. Even if you have floaters for a prolonged period, they’re usually easy to ignore. 

If Dr. Warren and the team find that you have an eye condition contributing to your floaters, such as bleeding in your eye, they treat the condition, which may also improve the floaters. 

Severe floaters can benefit from a treatment called vitrectomy — a surgery that removes the vitreous from inside your eye and replaces it with a similar synthetic solution. But the surgery can be risky, so Dr. Warren carefully discusses your options with you ahead of time. 

If you see floaters in your eyes, don’t be alarmed. Call THIRDCOAST RETINA or schedule an appointment online to learn more about their causes today.