Eye Floaters (cont.)
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What are eye floaters?
- Why do people notice eye floaters?
- What do eye floaters look like?
- What are the causes of eye floaters?
- How common are eye floaters?
- What eye diseases are associated with eye floaters?
- What are the risk factors for developing eye floaters?
- Are eye floaters dangerous?
- How are eye floaters diagnosed?
- Do eye floaters go away?
- What is the treatment for eye floaters?
- Can eye floaters be removed with medication?
- Can eye floaters be removed with surgery?
- Can eye floaters be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for eye floaters?
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
What are the risk factors for developing eye floaters?
Increasing age is a significant risk factor for the development of symptoms of floaters. Being nearsighted (myopic) is a risk factor for eye floaters occurring earlier in life. The process of vitreous syneresis is accelerated in eyes that are highly myopic, and posterior vitreous detachments occur at a younger age in people who are significantly nearsighted. Diabetes is a risk factor for the development of eye floaters that arise due to diabetic retinopathy. Eye injury is an additional risk factor.
Are eye floaters dangerous?
Eye floaters can be annoying, but by themselves they are not dangerous. The majority of eye floaters are caused by normal aging changes within the eye. However, a person developing the sudden appearance of eye floaters should be checked by an ophthalmologist to make certain that there is no associated eye abnormality or systemic disease that requires treatment. A sudden onset of many eye floaters or the onset of eye floaters associated with flashing lights could signify a retinal tear that requires treatment to prevent retinal detachment. A curtain or cloud in the vision or a loss of side vision could be a symptom of associated retinal detachment.
How are eye floaters diagnosed?
When a patient goes to the ophthalmologist with the symptom of eye floaters, the doctor will first ask the patient questions about them. The ophthalmologist will check the patient's vision, look at the front of the eyes with a slit lamp, and then place drops in the eyes to dilate the pupils. After the pupils are dilated, the retina and vitreous will be examined with bright lights from an ophthalmoscope. The ophthalmologist will be able to see the eye floaters themselves and will be able to tell the patient whether there are any associated abnormalities that require further tests or treatments.
Next: Do eye floaters go away?
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