Do you see ‘floaters’? Everything you need to know about this vision problem

Small spots, dots, circles, lines, or cobwebs in the field of vision. These are some of the unusual elements that we see when we present floatersan eye problem also known as floaters or floating bodies.

Those bodies seem to be in front of us, but they are not. Rather, they are inside the eye. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), floaters are a conglomerate of the gelatinous substance or cells inside the vitreous that fills the eye. In reality, what you see are the shadows of these conglomerates projected on the retina. They are clearly seen when the person looks at a flat surface, such as a wall or at the blue sky.

There is an explanation for its appearance, point out these American ophthalmologists. As we grow old, that jelly-like substance (vitreous) begins to thicken or shrink. In some cases, clumps or lines form in the vitreous. If the vitreous detaches from the back of the eye, it is called a posterior vitreous detachment. Floaters usually appear after a posterior vitreous detachment.

There are more causes of this eye problem. The specialists of Mayo Clinic remember that they can also appear due to inflammation of the back of the eye (uveitis). This condition can cause the release of inflammatory debris in the vitreous that look like floaters. The causes of posterior uveitis can be an infection, inflammatory diseases or others.

should not rule out the detached retina as one of the reasons for the appearance of floaters. It occurs when the retina separates from the back of the eye. And it is a serious problem that needs to be treated. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a sudden increase in floaters is one of the symptoms of this detachment.

A vanishing problem

American specialists speak of some risk factors. There will be more possibility for its appearance if the person has myopia, underwent cataract surgery or suffers from inflammation inside the eye.

It’s not a major alteration, the AAO says. On the contrary, this conglomerate tends to fade off. According to the Institut Català de Retina (ICR), the appearance of floaters is usually a normal circumstance that a significant percentage of the population suffers at some point in life, especially with age or stress.

Floaters can be eliminated by surgery, but the intervention is not usually recommended due to the risks it implies for the patient. This problem is usually harmless. However, specialists point out that care must be taken if they appear suddenly, especially if the flies are associated with flashes of light (photopsia) or remain still or increase in volume considerably. In these cases, it is best to go to a specialist, who will be in charge of evaluating the problem and monitoring these eye discomforts.

This information does not replace in any case the diagnosis or prescription by a doctor. It is important to go to a specialist when symptoms appear in case of illness and never self-medicate.

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