If the occasional spot, line, or shadow pops up in your line of sight, you’re likely seeing eye floaters. Seeing these sudden forms can be a regular part of the aging process, as the structures that shape your eyes age in much the same way as the body does. The appearance of eye floaters becomes dangerous when other more severe symptoms accompany them. In this post, a Saginaw, TX optometrist discusses eye floaters and what signs may indicate a more serious problem is present.
What Are Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters appear when a jelly-like liquid, known as vitreous, forms fibrous bundles behind the lens of the eye. These bundles create shadows on the retina (located at the back of the eye), which enhances the flotation effect. Eye floaters usually appear around the age of 50 and are a regular part of aging.
Floaters can take on different forms, including:
- Squiggly lines
- Moving shapes
- Gray or black specks
For some people, floaters appear more often when looking at a light-colored background. These signs and symptoms are usually harmless. However, when the forms or figures you see start to increase in number or they start to interfere with your vision, it may be time to see an optometrist.
When Eye Floaters Can Be Dangerous
While eye floaters are a regular part of the aging process, in some cases, they can be a symptom of underlying health problems. Here are some conditions that can cause floaters to appear:
- An eye injury
- Inflammation inside the eye
- Eye infection
- Retinal detachment, where the retina pulls away from the back of the eye
- Vitreous detachment, which results when the vitreous moves away from the retina
As a general rule, it’s always wise to get your eyes examined any time your vision is impeded. If you ever start to experience flashes of light that look like lightning, stars, or camera flashes, make an appointment with an eye doctor. Flashes usually occur when the vitreous fiber drags in front of or rubs against your retina. This can be a sign of retinal detachment, which can be critical.
Other things to look out for include a sudden and significant increase in the number of floaters, seeing a dark shadow in the center of your field of vision or in your side (peripheral) vision.
If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye exam, feel free to call our Saginaw, TX optometry office today.