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Eye Floaters: When to See an Ophthalmologist?

by | Jan 6, 2021 | Cataract, Eye Care, Eye Health | 0 comments

Eye floaters appear in your vision as small, dark spots, which cast shadows onto the retina. Because they are suspended in the vitreous – the gel-like fluid that fills your eyes – they frequently move along with your eye movements. They may also come and go.

Eye floaters are extremely common and, in most cases, are not too concerning. However, you should get an eye exam if you are experiencing a sudden onset of floaters or noticeable impairments in vision.

What Causes Eye Floaters?

As mentioned, floaters are extremely common, tending to occur with age. Nearsighted people or those with diabetes or who have had surgery to correct cataracts may be at higher risk of developing them. More severe causes that always require a visit to your ophthalmologist include infections, injuries, uveitis (inflammation), vitreous detachment, retinal tear, and retinal detachment.

When to See an Ophthalmologist?

You should immediately contact an ophthalmologist if you experience a sudden onset of numerous floaters, a shadow appears in your peripheral vision, or part of your vision becomes blurry. These symptoms could be indicative of a torn or detached retina. You should also make an appointment if you see flashes of light.

Also, quite common, flashes of light occur when the vitreous begins to break down and pulls on the retina. It, too, can come about with age or after trauma or surgery. People who get frequent migraines have also reported seeing flashes. What is most concerning about this condition is that it can be a precursor to a retinal tear or detachment, both of which can lead to blindness, especially if left untreated.

An ophthalmologist can diagnose a torn or detached retina during a comprehensive eye exam. Treatment will depend on the severity of the tear or detachment. An in-office laser procedure may be used to seal a small, singular tear, while more substantial tears or a full retinal detachment usually requires surgical intervention. 

Using only the most advanced technologies and techniques, the doctors at Eye Physicians of North Houston provide patients with compassionate, comprehensive, and convenient eye care. Our practice serves residents throughout Houston and the neighboring communities of Texas.

Protect your eyesight by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam with the Eye Physicians of North Houston today. We can be reached Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at (281) 893-1760. We are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Resources:

“Floaters.” The National Eye Institute.

“What are Floaters and Flashes?” The American Academy of Ophthalmology.