What are floaters and how did they get into my eyes?
They are little objects floating within the gel-like substance of your eyeballs and it is not directly these objects that you are seeing, but their shadows.
The gel like substance filling up our eyeballs is called vitreous body, or vitreous gel, vitreous humor, sometimes only vitreous. It consists of water mostly – 99% – and the rest is mixture of salts, sugars, proteins, vitrosin (a type of collagen), acids, etc. With age the gelatinous substance tends to lose its fluid and little parts of the gel break off and start floating around within the center of the vitreous body. But this is not the only possible reason for floaters to occur. As the vitreous body shrinks and loses fluid with age, it might disconnect from the retina and start floating around within the eyeball, and cause shadows on the retina. In fact, this is a very common disorder. IT is called PVD – posterior vitreous detachment. It’s painless and not dangerous in the majority of cases. However, there can always be trouble.
The retina could be damaged in this process and also if floaters are too close to the retina, they might damage it. Basically, any damage to the retina is a serious issue, therefore if you are actually seeing eye floaters, you should visit an eye specialist in any case. The warning signs are flashes of light in vision. If you experience these, the retina is probably being damaged and you should seek medical attention immediately. Also if the number of floaters in your vision grows rapidly all of a sudden, that is a warning sign, too. But don’t wait for these.
OK, my doctor checked my eyes and said there’s no need to worry, my floaters are not dangerous, but they are driving me crazy. What can I do now?
Yes, this is very likely to happen, because in most cases eye floaters are luckily benign. But they are still very irritating. But don’t worry, there are some things that can be done.
There are basically two types of surgical procedures used to remove floaters from our eyes.
Vitrectomy – generally it means replacing the vitreous gel with a saline solution which will guarantee a complete removal of eye floaters and it also means that you will never see them again, because the saline solution doesn’t have the same structure as a vitreous gel and it simply doesn’t shrink and lose fluid with age, so no particles will form and float around within it.
Vitreolysis – uses laser to target and obliterate eye floaters. This is very popular solution for eye floaters.
However, there is always risk involved with surgeries and many people are afraid of them. There are also cases when the surgery will not be suggested by the doctor himself, such as if the eye floaters are too near the retina – the laser could harm the retina too.
Apart from surgical procedures, there are natural remedies and diets, lifestyle habits that can be changed in order to get rid of eye floaters. And there is also this fact that brain can actually adapt to floaters and filter them out of the vision, as it already does with other things within our eyes that we don’t see, but are actually there. But these are not moving. That is correct – if floaters stopped floating around within the vitreous gel, we would not see them, because brain would adapt to them. This actually happens, but the waiting could be long.
Drinking a lot of water, intake of vitamins such as E and C, eating a lot of blueberries, mustard and seeds and nuts of all kinds, lots of vegetables, healthy lifestyle including reducing smoking and alcohol intake, these and many others can lead to curing your floaters.
Article by Amanda Tosh