Watch Now: Keeping an Eye on ‘Floaters’

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September 7, 2015


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Have you ever wondered what those little specks floating around in your field of vision might be? They are known as floaters – little bits of vitreous, the clear gel that fills the space between the lens and the retina of the eyeball. The National Eye Institute refers to them as “small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines”.

Floaters tend to move with your eyes and may race across your field of vision if you try to focus on them. They might be more pronounced when you are looking at a brightly-lit, plain background or a clear blue sky.

Many people have floaters and might not even be aware of them. Seeing some floaters in your vision should not be cause for alarm. A sudden increase in the number of floaters, especially those that are accompanied by flashes of light or any change in peripheral vision, could be sign of retinal detachment, a serious condition that can lead to permanent loss of vision of not treated immediately.

“The kind of floaters that you worry about are those that appear very suddenly, particularly when they are numerous or large”, says Mark Feldman, M.D., an ophthalmologist with the Baptist Eye Surgery Center at Sunrise. Dr. Feldman stresses the importance of treating these sudden changes as an emergency that needs immediate evaluation from an eye care professional.

Floaters are more likely to develop as we get older and are more commonly found in persons that are extremely nearsighted, have diabetes, or who may have had cataract surgery.

Dr. Feldman tells the Baptist Health South Florida News Team other facts about floaters. Watch it now.