Floaters

Floaters Specialist
Floaters are well named, as they seem to mysteriously float across your field of vision. In most cases, floaters come and go without affecting your eyesight, but they can be a sign of a serious eye problem like diabetic retinopathy or retinal detachment. Dr. Perry Mollick and Dr. Andrew Greenberg at Mollick Professional Center have extensive experience helping people with floaters. If you have any questions, call their office in Levittown, New York, or schedule an appointment online for an eye exam.

Floaters Q & A

Mollick Professional Center

What causes floaters?

Floaters may appear as small specks, shapes that look like a cluster of spots, squiggly lines, or a strand of thread. They tend to move with your eye, drift across your vision when your eyes stop moving, and disappear if you actually try to look at them. So what causes these mysterious shadowy shapes?

A large part of your eye is filled with a transparent jelly-like fluid called vitreous that helps maintain the eye’s shape. Most floaters develop over time as vitreous thins out and becomes stringy. When these stringy clumps block some of the light passing through your eye, they cast shadows on the retina that you see as floaters.

Floaters don’t go away, but they eventually sink to the bottom of your eye. Since they stay below your line of vision, you don’t see them.

What increases your risk for floaters?

Floaters are often caused by aging, but you’re more likely to develop them if you’re nearsighted or have a history of the following:

  • Eye infection
  • Inflammation (uveitis)
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Retinal tear
  • Eye injury
  • Cataract surgery

When should you get medical help for floaters?

If you have frequent floaters, they become bothersome or interfere with your vision, please don’t hesitate to consult your doctor at Mollick Professional Center.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following symptoms, because they’re signs of a detached retina:

  • Sudden increase in number of floaters
  • Floaters are accompanied by flashes of light
  • You lose peripheral vision (side vision)

A detached retina represents an emergency that needs quick treatment to avoid vision loss or blindness. It can cause permanent vision loss within two to three days if it’s not treated.

How are floaters treated?

Floaters don’t usually interfere with your vision, but if they do, your doctor at Mollick Professional Center may consider two possible treatments, depending on individual factors like your age and the size and location of the floaters:

Laser vitreolysis

Gentle laser energy is used to break apart or vaporize large floaters. Vitreolysis is performed when floaters aren’t too close to the retina.

Vitrectomy

Surgical procedure to remove some or all of the vitreous and replace it with clear fluid. This option is often reserved for severe cases where floaters block your vision.