Eye Floaters are tiny dark (black or gray) specks that can be seen in your field of vision, especially when you look at a blue sky, a white wall or any other uninterrupted, light colored expanse. They are created when tiny clumps form in the clear, jelly-like substance (the ‘vitreous humour’) inside the eyeball.
As these tiny floaters are suspended in this “jelly”, they move when your eyeball moves. As a result, if you try to look directly at them, they may appear to disappear from sight.
There are numerous causes of eye floaters. The first and most frequent is natural aging of the vitreous humor. As we age, our vitreous tends to liquefy leading to new eye floaters. Floaters tend to become more prolific the older we get, because the vitreous humour degenerates with advancing years and pulls slightly away from the retina. This separation of vitreous humour from the retina can cause small shreds of jelly to break off and form more floaters. At first, this can be irritating. Over time, the brain usually becomes accustomed to the floaters and may decide not to “inform” you of their presence. The longer you’ve had them, the less you’ll see them.
Many patients have reported that after hitting their head they suddenly see floaters. Others report that consuming medications such as Viagra, Roaccuttane, skin treatment drugs, weight loss pills, mental recovery medicine and certain illegal drugs can cause floaters. Intense anger and high blood pressure can both lead to eye floaters as well.
It’s important that you try to keep your body as prescription drug-free as possible. We do not know all the causes, but the best way to prevent any further floaters is by living a healthy life.
Floaters can come in different sizes and shapes. Some look like little dots, while others appear like threads or little hairy clumps. In most cases, floaters are normal and harmless. But, a sudden increase in their number might indicate damage to particular internal structures of the eye. This requires immediate professional attention. Everyone can see floaters: kids, babies, women, men, etc… even animals are known to develop eye floaters.
The characteristics of floaters depend on the individual, but can include:
- Different shapes, such as tiny spots, flecks, threads or webs.
- Particularly visible when looking at an uninterrupted light background, such as a blue sky.
- They move as the eyes move, often with a slight lag.
- Large floaters can present diminished areas of vision (but this is very rare).
In the majority of cases, floaters are not something to worry about. But, if you see flashes of light or experience a sudden increase in floaters it’s time to consult an eye doctor as soon as possible.
The only other way in which eye floaters could be dangerous is if during any physical activity your floaters pull on your retina. The pushing and pulling of the floaters could cause a retinal detachment in the long term.
We don’t know all the causes of floaters, but we do know that computers; like reading or watching TV, won’t increase the number of floaters you see in any way. Computers are likely to cause you eye strain and fatigue leading to a greater likelihood of noticing eye floaters. Computer use also causes more pronounced after-images, which people tend to associate with floaters. You should take care of your eyes when using the computer or watching TV. Some recommendations:
- Get a big monitor and increase its brightness. If you are struggling to see text, then your eyes will take their toll. Get glasses if you can’t read.
- Your eyes should be slightly above the monitor and you should be looking down to see it.
- Having additional light really helps. Try having two lamps, one to the right and one to the left. If possible sit near a window so you can take breaks and look to a far-away object frequently.
- Have breaks.
“Flashes of light” are greenish images that can be seen even when the eyes are closed. They mean that a floater might be pulling on the retina or that there is something harming it. While the retina cannot cause direct pain, the brain transmits the flashes to warn that something is wrong. Some people see flashes right after doing exercise and this is not dangerous. Flashes of light are mostly dangerous when they appear suddenly without any sort of “provocation” such as sudden moves, etc. If you are sitting, watching TV, etc. and see a flasher “suddenly” then you should contact a doctor immediately. Even if you see it after doing exercise, you should also contact a doctor. Flashes can mean something much more serious.
The “natural cure or treatment” for floaters (you never want to have surgery for them) is to eat a diet rich in vegetables, greens, fruits and with plenty of protein. You must exercise. And you MUST stop thinking about your “floaters”. Ignore them! Don’t even think about the word “floaters” ever again. Now here’s one that you may think is “way out there”, but I’ve heard from optometrists and ophthalmologists that the following does WORK. It can do you no harm, so trying it won’t hurt you in any way. It’s so simple and yet nobody does it. Ready? Gaze at the moon. Yep! That’s it. It’s been said that gazing at the moon does help preserve vision. Even better, it’s rumored that the brain ignores floaters faster if you gaze at the moon for just five minutes every night. What have you got to lose? Try it.