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Floaters are small dark shapes floating across your vision. The floaters often look like threads, little cobwebs, squiggly lines or spots.

Most people experience floaters, but it clears off after some time, and treatment isn’t necessary. However, floaters may indicate a more serious eye condition. If you suddenly have new floaters that don’t clear, inform your eye doctor.

Symptoms of floaters

Floaters usually move with your eye movement, so when you try looking at them directly, they seem to move. When your eyes aren’t moving, floaters keep moving across your vision. You may notice floaters when looking at something bright, like a blue sky or white paper.

Can I have floaters?

Most people develop floaters as they age, but some are at a higher risk. You have a higher risk of developing floaters if you:

Causes of floaters

Floaters often result from normal changes in the eye as you become older. Ageing causes small strands of your vitreous (the gel-like fluid that fills the eye) to stick together, which casts shadows on the retina. These shadows may appear as floaters.

In some cases, floaters result from more serious causes, such as:

When is immediate care necessary?

Sometimes, new floaters may indicate a retinal tear or detachment when the retina pulls or tears from its normal position. The symptoms are:

A retinal tear or detachment may be a medical emergency. If these symptoms occur, ensure you visit an eye doctor or the emergency room immediately.

How will my eye doctor diagnose floaters?

The eye doctor can check for floaters during a dilated eye exam. The doctor will prescribe some eye drops to widen (dilate) the pupil and check if you have floaters or other eye conditions. This eye exam is painless. However, the doctor may press on your eyelids to check if you have a retinal tear, which some people find uncomfortable.

Treatment for floaters

The treatment for floaters depends on their cause. If another eye condition is responsible for your floaters, treatment for this condition may be necessary. If your floaters result from ageing and don’t bother you, you may not need treatment.

If your floaters make seeing clearing difficult and affect your daily life, your eye doctor may recommend a vitrectomy to remove the floaters. Consult your eye doctor to know the benefits and risks of this surgery.

If you need an eye exam to determine if you have floaters or experience any symptoms of floaters, visit Optimal Vision. You can also contact us at 020 7183 3725 for an appointment with our eye doctor for your eye examination.

Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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