Have you noticed black spots, specks or even the appearance of a “cobweb” in your field of vision? These are called floaters. Typically, floaters are no cause for alarm; they are simply annoying. While they are most commonly harmless, if you notice floaters, it’s
important to schedule eye exam to rule out a retinal emergency and determine the eye floater causes.
Floaters are the result of tiny pieces of gel floating around in the eye. The back of the eye is filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous. As we age, the vitreous liquefies, but pieces of gel may be left floating around.
Floaters are most noticeable when looking at bright objects, such as the sky, or a bright, white computer screen. What you see isn’t the pieces of vitreous debris themselves, but the shadow of these pieces of debris cast on the retina as light passes through the eye. Floaters are most visible when looking at bright objects or surfaces because a floater is created by a shadow.
In addition to floaters, movement of the vitreous gel in the eye can also cause a flash of light to appear in vision. Like floaters, flashes caused by movement in the vitreous gel are not dangerous, but flashes could also be a sign of a hole or tear in the retina.
Floaters themselves are not dangerous, but a sudden onset of floaters or a large number of them may be a sign of a more severe problem. The vitreous could be pulling away from the retina or there could be a tear in the retina. In most cases, retinal tears lead to the retina detaching from the back of the eye. If immediate medical attention isn’t given to the torn or detached retina, vision may be permanently lost.
If you experience floaters or flashes, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to have your eyes examined to rule out more serious conditions. Contact Key-Whitman today to schedule your comprehensive exam.
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