The little black dots and swirls that you see moving in front of your eyes are probably floaters. Usually, they’re harmless. But they can be a sign of problems with your retina, so you should visit North Shore Glaucoma Center & Eye Physicians to find out. At their offices in Libertyville and Skokie, Illinois, the board-certified eye doctors will assess your floaters and treat any underlying conditions. Make sure you don’t take chances with floaters. Call North Shore Glaucoma Center & Eye Physicians today or book an appointment online.
Floaters are tiny moving specks in your field of vision. They can look like dots, circles, lines, cobwebs, or clouds. You think they’re in front of your eye. But they’re actually tiny clumps of gel or cells floating inside the vitreous — the clear, jellylike fluid that fills the inside of your eyeball.
At the back of your eye is a nerve layer (the retina) that senses light and enables you to see. Floaters are shadows that the clumps of cells cast on your retina.
When you reach middle age, the vitreous inside your eyeballs begins to shrink or thicken. In time, the vitreous pulls away from the back of your eye (posterior vitreous detachment), causing floaters.
This condition is more likely to affect you if you’re nearsighted or have had inflammation inside your eye. Previous cataract surgery and YAG (yttrium-aluminum garnet) laser eye surgery are also significant risk factors.
Floaters might look alarming, but often they’re nothing to worry about. Having said that, you should see your eye doctor at North Shore Glaucoma Center & Eye Physicians right away if you get new floaters.
Sometimes, the retina can tear as the vitreous shrinks and pulls away. Tiny amounts of blood that result from the tear will appear as new floaters. A torn retina is a serious problem because it can lead to retinal detachment. This is where the retina comes away from the inside of your eye. A detached retina can cause you to lose your sight.
You should visit North Shore Glaucoma Center & Eye Physicians as soon as possible if you suddenly see a new floater, start seeing light flashes, or see a shadow in your side (peripheral) vision. You might also see a gray “curtain” covering part of your vision.
Some people have had floaters for years with no problems. Others find their floaters fade over time. Floaters can be annoying because they get in the way of clear vision. If your floaters are a nuisance, try moving your eyes. Look up and down several times to move your floaters out of the way.
You can’t tell if your floaters are harmless or a sign of a detached retina without an exam, so speak to your eye doctor. They examine your eyes to see if there’s an underlying cause for your floaters. Treatments include repairing a tear with laser or cryopexy (freezing) techniques or surgery to reattach the retina.
If you have floaters, call North Shore Glaucoma Center & Eye Physicians today for an evaluation or book an appointment online.