Have you ever noticed unnatural, unusual spots right in front of your visual field? Do you find it demanding at times to see things clearly due to those cloudy, spluttery eye floaters?
You may notice them, especially when you try to see at some bright objects like a white wall, a blank white paper, or sometimes, a clear, blue sky.
Isn’t it very annoying?
Although you may find eye floaters very annoying, more often than not, they are not harmful to your eyes or vision. But being annoying is more than enough to find some practical and safe options to get rid of them finally.
This post will deal with some potential causes of eye floaters, their symptoms and complications, different treatment options, and some very effective home remedies. Let’s start with knowing a bit in detail about eye floaters.
What Are Eye Floaters?
Most people think that the small lines, circles, dots, cobwebs, and other shapes they notice in the visual field are in front of the eyes. But, interestingly and surprisingly, they are not! In fact, they are actually inside your eyes! And they are floating all the time!
They may often appear as gray or black flecks that seem to move around with your eyes’ movement or when you directly look at the specks. What you see are actually eye floaters, very tiny, at times irregular or cellular masses or clusters of gel inside the black part of your eye. Yes, eye floaters may look like some definite objects, but in reality, they are shadows casting by the clumps on your retina of the eye.
Different Common Types of Eye Floaters
Experts started to call them “floaters,” needless to say, due to their floating nature, especially how they keep drifting when you intentionally try to focus on them.
Everyone can have a completely different experience related to floaters, but some common types may include:
- Grey dots
- Black dots
- Threadlike, transparent strands
- Squiggly and uneven lines
- Web-like structure
Once you start noticing eye floaters, they are less likely to go away completely. However, the appearance does reduce with the progression of time.
Potential Causes of Eye Floaters
Why do you get eye floaters? As we have already said, eye floaters are formed in the back of your eyes, known as “vitreous.” Most of the eye floaters are formed with very tiny, gel-like flecks of collagen – we all know that it’s a type of protein.
The vitreous in our eyes keep maintaining a gel-like disposition throughout birth and adolescence. The vitreous usually gets thick or shrink with the advancement of age, and sometimes, they even start dissolving and become more like liquid. Some of the gel-like particles may not dissolve completely, as they are protein fibers. Instead, they keep floating in the gel-like, watery center of the vitreous
These clumps, flecks, or strands keep forming in the area of vitreous and form shadows on your retina, and as a result, they appear as eye-floaters, especially when you try to focus on a white, blank background.
Since the movement of floaters is in sync with the movement of your eyes, you are unable to focus properly on these floaters completely and may never understand the exact shapes, sizes, or colors. And that’s why you keep experiencing the movement of these floaters in front of your eyes.
How are Eye Floaters Linked with Flashes?
Don’t you notice flashes in front of your vision fields at times? You surely do! You can name them “seeing stars” or “lightning streaks.” The frequency of noticing these flashes increases, especially when you feel dizzy or get an injury on your head.
If you notice the continuous appearance and disappearance of floaters regularly, that’s still fine. However, if you notice clusters of floaters at a time and that too with flashes, you shouldn’t waste any time before talking to an ophthalmologist.
Such type of sudden incidence may be caused by a pulling away of gel-like vitreous from your retina. And this condition is medically called “posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)” and is caused by dislodging of the retina from the innermost layer of the vitreous. However, it’s very rare; there might be a tear or hole in the retina that may lead to “retinal detachment.” Retinal detachment is one of the most serious eye conditions and calls for an immediate medical emergency.
PVDs are also rare but are common when compared to retinal detachment and are less serious. But you still have to get proper medical attention to assess the cause and possible treatment plan.
Conditions that May Cause Eye Floaters
You might have a predisposition of getting eye floaters, especially if you,
- are aged between 50 to 75
- have chronic headache
- suffer from migraines very often
- use prescription glasses, especially for nearsightedness
- have swelling or inflammation in the eyes due to certain medical conditions
- have bleeding from vitreous due to injury or trauma of the eye or head
- recently had eye surgery, mainly after having a cataract
- have a torn or detached retina
- are suffering from diabetic retinopathy
- are having an eye tumor for so long
Eye floaters are very common and don’t usually call for medical attention. However, they may sometimes indicate some serious health issues, especially when combined with some other, more serious symptoms or signs. It is very important to discount such possibilities after talking with an eye specialist.
If your doctor doesn’t diagnose a potentially harmful health condition as a cause of eye floaters, here are some home remedies you can try to manage.
Tips to Treat Eye Floaters
1: Don’t Treat Them at All!
Yes! If you and your doctor are sure about no other serious problems, “not treating the eye floaters at all” is the best way to deal with them. Why? Because floaters tend to fade away or even disappear with time. And even if that’s not the case, your brain starts adapting accordingly with time and learns easily to ignore them. And if your brain isn’t seeing something as a real problem, you don’t need to be worried at all.
Also, with time, eye floaters usually move and settle at the bottom of your eyes as the vitreous liquefies. The bottom of your eyes helps you with overhead vision, which is blocked due to eyebrows and eyelashes, and the eye floaters don’t remain bothersome and noticeable at all.
If you are annoyed with eye floaters constantly, and for a very long time, you can try shifting the fluid in the vitreous by moving your eyes up and down for a few seconds. With that, eye floaters won’t be visible in front of the field of vision anymore.
However, if the eye floaters start becoming a cause of major concern and start impacting your life massively, you can discuss with your doctor to have one of these treatments.
2: Get a Thorough Eye Exam
Even if you are not experiencing troublesome eye floaters, we suggest you go for a thorough eye exam. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a regular eye checkup is recommended to people over forty, even without having any eye trouble. It becomes a must for people over sixty.
What’s the reason for it? Any underlying condition like diabetic retinopathy or a tumor in the eye may be responsible for eye floaters’ constant appearance, and interestingly, without causing a vision problem! So, you may not even be wary that you are already struggling with a potentially dangerous eye condition, and you are dangerously close to suffering from a compromised vision!
Since we have already discussed the potential causes of eye floaters, a lot of them may even go unnoticed due to the absence or lack of signs and symptoms. So, you must go for a thorough eye-checkup regularly to discount any eye condition that may hamper your vision for the rest of your life.
3: Get Yourself Tested for Blood Count
An abnormal and sudden increase in white blood cells, especially due to an inflammation or infection, may also lead to eye floaters. If your blood count is higher than the normal range, a combination of anti-inflammatory and antibiotics should be enough to improve the condition. However, don’t reach a conclusion or try medication without having a thorough discussion with a licensed medical practitioner.
4: Stay Hydrated
Without any doubt, water is very important for the overall growth and functioning of your body. Dehydration can be responsible for a wide range of health problems, including the eyelids’ excessive dryness. Dehydration or deoxygenation of the collagen in the vitreous may cause shrinking of the inner eyes, and hence, may lead to eye floaters.
Therefore, staying hydrated is not only required for you to stay physically healthy and active, but it is also essential for your eyes’ health. Furthermore, eye floaters may also be a result build-up of toxins inside the eyes. And you know, only water can remove the toxins thoroughly from your body!
Number 4: Detox from Molds and Heavy Metals
According to Homoeopathic Ophthalmologist Dr. Edward Kondrot, “An unhealthy diet with heavy metal toxicity may be responsible for eye floaters. And, he suggests a 6-hour urine examination to check out the heavy metals. Dr. Kodrot states that “we have seen a lot of eye floaters patients with an increased level of lead and mercury in their urine samples.”
According to a research, heavy metals get accumulated in the ocular tissues of humans, including the vitreous.
If you constantly have eye floaters, we also suggest you look out for molds at your home or workplace. Mold is a type of fungus that matures healthily in warm or humid conditions.
Constant moisture at home or workplace may be favorable for mold growth, especially if there is poor ventilation. Places like washrooms, window sills, AC vents, basements, fireplaces, attics, sinks, etc., are more than perfect for molds’ growth. Molds can be harmful and cause health problems, especially to those who have some respiratory problems like asthma or are allergic to molds. Molds are usually not responsible for eye-related problems but may be linked with blurred vision, red eyes, and eye floaters.
If you are sure about humidity inside your home or at the workplace, try some effective ways of getting rid of it.
5: Have an Anti-inflammatory Diet
Sometimes, people wrongly assume that inflammation is always visible through skin or physical appearance. However, internal inflammation, mainly at the cellular level, is never visible and doesn’t even show through signs until there is something serious. In fact, system-wide inflammation, if it remain unnoticed, may be responsible for serious health problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
So, never, we repeat, never ignore the importance of a healthy diet in your life. And have an anti-inflammatory diet full of leafy greens, foods high in omega three fatty acids, and other very important nutrients. Get rid of unhealthy, processed foods from your diet as soon as possible.
Try to cook foods for yourself and your family instead of munching outside regularly and frequently. These are some foods you can add to your diet to deter eye floaters:
- Antibiotic-free eggs
- Coconut oil
- Whole grains and legumes
- Citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges
- Extra-virgin olives and olive oil
- Raw nuts like almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
- Tuna, wild Alaskan salmon, or other fatty fishes
- Dark green veggies like spinach, collard greens, kale, and Swiss chard, etc.
- Organic berries such as cherries, blueberries, and strawberries, etc.
Eye floaters are not a problem until they are accompanied by some major signs and symptoms we have mentioned above in the write-up. You don’t really need to treat them at all! However, if they annoy you regularly and frequently, you can talk to your doctor and find the possible cause(s). “Removal of the cause” is a way to go ahead as far as treatment is concerned. Otherwise, we can tell you to “just chill”! They are not even a problem!