Have you ever seen small dark spots floating along in your vision? What you’re seeing could be eye floaters. Like Mona Lisa’s eyes, eye floaters seem to follow your eye movements. However, these small dots dart away when you try to look directly at them. What causes eye floaters? While the cause can be harmless, like the natural aging process, in some instances the situation is more serious. Keep reading to learn more about the common causes of eye floaters, and be sure to contact your eye doctor if you’re experiencing this vision problem.
What Causes Eye Floaters?
A retinal detachment may cause eye floaters – and this eye emergency is just as serious at it sounds. In fact, in just two to three days it can lead to permanent visual impairment or blindness. A retinal detachment occurs when the retina, which is the eye’s light-sensitive tissue, starts to pull away from the eye’s back wall. If you suddenly notice several eye floaters, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing a retinal detachment. Additional signs of a retinal detachment include light flashes and peripheral vision loss (source). If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your eye doctor right away to protect your vision.
The Natural Aging Process
As you grow older, it’s not just the skin around your eyes that ages – your eyes age too. The vitreous, which is the jelly-like substance inside your eyeballs that helps maintain your eye’s round shape, can start to liquefy slightly. As a result, the vitreous starts to pull away from the eyeball’s interior surface and sags. During this process, the vitreous starts to clump, and the clumps block some of the light passing through your eyes, which causes the dark spots you see (source).
This issue is known as a vitreous detachment. While it sounds as serious as a retinal detachment, in most cases, a vitreous detachment won’t lead to vision loss and doesn’t require treatment. If your eye floaters appear gradually rather than all at once, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing a vitreous detachment. However, the best and safest way to determine whether or not your eye floaters are just the result of the natural aging process is to visit your optometrist.
An Eye Injury
If your eye is inflamed or bleeding, you may see temporary or permanent floaters. Certain eye injuries affect the vitreous layer and can cause debris to cast shadows in your vision. One common cause of eye bleeding is hypertension, which is a blocked blood vessel that can be the result of uncontrolled diabetes. Inflammation can be caused by an eye infection or recent eye surgery.
So what causes eye floaters? As it turns out, anything from the natural aging process to a serious eye emergency like a detached retina can cause you to see dark spots in your vision. If you’re seeing eye floaters, play it safe and book an appointment with your optometrist right away.
Contact Heffington’s if you live near Springfield, Missouri. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!