Ever noticed those little specks floating in your field of vision? These “floaters” may be annoying – especially if you’re trying to concentrate on something – but they’re actually a normal phenomenon that gets progressively more noticeable as we age.
Floaters occur when the eye’s vitreous starts to break down. The vitreous is a thick, gel-like substance that fills the center of the eye. The vitreous helps give the eye its rounded shape, and helps the eye maintain its volume if it’s ever compressed (for example, you rub your eyes too hard). As we age, the vitreous begins to dissolve, which causes it to lose some of its volume. Some undissolved portions of the vitreous may break off and float around in the liquid center of the eye, which we see as floaters.
If you see floaters in your vision, it’s not normally a cause for alarm. However, if you suddenly see a number of floaters accompanied by spots and flashes of light, it’s important to seek medical attention from your ophthalmologist immediately. This is because the sudden flashes of light indicate that your vitreous is starting to detach from your retina. In worst-case scenarios, the retina itself might even be detaching from the back of the eye.
It’s important to seek out immediate medical treatment, as the vitreous could force the retina to detach, which could impact the amount of blood and oxygen your eye receives. In 50% of cases, people who experienced these symptoms eventually had total retinal detachment. An ophthalmologist can quickly reattach the retina back to the eye, thus restoring healthy function and preserving vision.
If you’re worried that your floaters might be a sign of something worse, you should schedule regular exams with your ophthalmologist. Should you experience flashes, schedule an emergency appointment with Dr. Loeffler at the Center for Ophthalmology and Laser Surgery. Serving the greater Fort Lauderdale, FL and surrounding Florida areas – Dr. Loeffler and his staff members are dedicated to protecting your ocular health against retinal detachment and other disorders associated with these symptoms. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Loeffler today to learn more about retinal detachment and your treatment options. We’re located in Lighthouse Pt. and we serve the Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton & Ft. Lauderdale areas. Call us at (954) 786-5353.