You may not have ever straight up wondered before what causes eye floaters. However, you’ve probably experienced this strange experience. Ever noticed those tiny, squiggly little gray-to-black lines or dots when looking at something? You likely don’t always notice them, but they might appear when looking at the sky, a piece of white paper, or other vast, bright images. They’re not illusions and they’re not tiny particles stuck to your beloved Biofinity lenses. They’re called eye floaters and can cause different visual results for everyone. Sometimes they may be little specks, others may resemble tiny strings or cobwebs. If you try to focus on one of them, it will appear to move. For most people, they are just nuisances and you learn to ignore them. Rarely do people want or need treatment for a simple case of floaters, annoying as they may be. But have you ever wondered what causes eye floaters in the first place? Keep reading for some insight!
Eye Floaters & Aging
Generally speaking, these bothersome buggers aren’t a sign of anything wrong with your overall eye health. In fact, they’re pretty much completely normal! Let’s just get that out of the way right up front in case you’ve been worried about any you may have. Normal eye floaters are caused by age, meaning you get more as you grow older—just another fun part of the aging process (groan…)! Such instances occur as a result of vitreous breaking down in the eyeball. What exactly is vitreous you ask? It’s the jelly-like substance that partially makes up the center of the eyeball, helping it to keep its round shape. As we age, some vitreous tends to break down and become more like a liquid than say, Jell-O. These teeny, tiny liquefied pieces end up floating around inside of the eye. Voila, you now have a common cause of eye floaters. While there’s nothing you can do to really fix the issue, don’t fret too much. Typically these types of floaters eventually settle down in the bottom of the eye, becoming less noticeable. And like we said, most people get pretty darn good at simply ignoring them!
There are a few other, more serious causes of eye floaters, but again, most people experience the totally benign, normal ones described above. Inflammation in the back of the eye is another possible trigger. The inflammation may be caused by an infection or other disease. Injury that causes bleeding in the eyeball may also result in eye floaters. A torn retina is yet another potential catalyst. A torn retina can be a fairly serious condition resulting in possible permanent vision loss, so floaters seem like a pretty negligible concern in this case. In fact, with all of these issues, eye floaters are really just a symptom of a larger, more complicated issue that needs to be addressed.
Treatment for Eye Floaters
For people with a lot of eye floaters that cause vision impairment, there are some treatment options available. Laser therapy is one potential choice. During this process, a laser is aimed directly at the floaters in an effort to help break them up, making them even smaller, which in turn, will help make them less noticeable and intrusive. There are mixed reports on how effective patients found this therapy. It is not a common procedure to have done. Another treatment option for a serious case of troubling floaters is to have surgery that removes the vitreous. An ophthalmologist will then replace it with a substance with similar properties that can help keep the eye’s shape. It’s not a surefire way to get rid of all floaters, and in fact, new ones may still form in the future. Neither of these treatments is exactly ideal, but it’s comforting to know they at least exist in case you find yourself in the unlucky misfortune of having eye floaters that cause vision issues.
Now you may know more than you ever cared to about what causes eye floaters, but hey, at least you know that in the large majority of cases, they’re nothing to worry about!