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?
- How can a person get rid of eye floaters?
- Can eye floaters be removed with medication?
- Can eye floaters be removed with surgery?
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
Do eye floaters go away?
Most eye floaters decrease in size and darkness with time. Some of this is due to actual absorption of the floater through the natural processes within the eye. Eye floaters may also shift in position within the eye, resulting in less of a shadow effect. In addition, the nerves within the brain adapt to and often become used to the presence of eye floaters, ignoring them in a manner similar to the way a person only notices the feeling of shoes on their feet when they think about it. Eye floaters eventually tend to become less bothersome.
How can a person get rid of eye floaters?
There are no safe and proven methods to cure the symptom of eye floaters caused by vitreous syneresis or posterior vitreous detachment. Most will fade over time and become less annoying or noticeable. Learning relaxation techniques may hasten the adaptation to persistent eye floaters.
Can eye floaters be removed with medication?
Although certain herbs, vitamins, and iodine-containing products have been touted as effective in decreasing eye floaters, none of these have been proven effective in clinical trials. In the unusual cases in which the eye floaters are due to white blood cells in the vitreous from inflammation or infection, appropriate anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics will reduce the number of white blood cells. There are no oral or eye drop medications of value for the reduction of the common type of eye floaters.
Can eye floaters be removed with surgery?
Breaking up of eye floaters by the use of a YAG laser has been advocated by some, but there is no evidence that this is both safe and effective. The use of a laser also poses significant risks to the vision in what is otherwise a healthy eye. The vitreous itself can also be surgically removed by a procedure called vitrectomy. This involves multiple incisions into the eye and is reserved for situations in which there is a large amount of non-clearing blood or inflammatory debris within the eye. Surgery of either type should not be performed in patients with the common type of eye floaters due to vitreous syneresis or posterior vitreous detachment.
Schiff, William Merril, et al. "Pars plana vitrectomy for persistent, visually significant vitreous opacities." Retina 20.6 (2000): 591-596.
Last Editorial Review: 5/3/2012
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