Essential information about floaters from your eye doctor in Medford, Natick, Dedham, and Boston
Our optometrists at Lickteig Family Eyecare, get one question on a regular basis: "I see floaters. Do I need to see an ophthalmologist in Boston?" Floaters are extremely common, and the older you get, the more floaters you will see. Floaters are caused by changes in the vitreous humor, the gel-like fluid inside your eyeball. They're usually not a cause for concern unless they occur with one other symptom.
Floaters, flashes, or both?
Floaters drift through your field of vision, usually not quite keeping up with the motion of your eyes. When you move your eyes, floaters seem to dart away. Actually, they are staying in place while your eyes move. A floater consists of tiny fibers from a blood clot or coagulated protein. It can be spherical, cylindrical, or something more like a spider's web, black, brown, gray, or white. Sometimes you see actual floaters, but more often you are seeing their shadow.
Floaters are usually harmless, but there are several situations in which you need to call your optometrists in Medford, Natick, Dedham, and Boston:
- You start seeing lots of floaters. Some people see so many floaters that it looks like a curtain is falling, or there are hundreds or thousands of tiny droplets moving through the fluid of the eye like a rainstorm. This is a sign that a blood vessel has burst in your retina.
- You start seeing both floaters and flashes. This can be a sign of a detached retina. The detached retina must be surgically repaired in just hours to avoid permanent loss of sight.
Not sure whether you need to go into your eye doctor?
Floaters are a sign of serious changes in diabetic eyes. About a quarter of diabetics eventually develop a condition called diabetic retinopathy. In this disease, there is an accumulation of twisted, turning, fragile blood vessels in the retina, at the back of the eye. These blood vessels can break, releasing blood into the eye. The loss of circulation can deprive the retina of oxygen and cause the death of cells in the retina that can lead to blindness. Every year, 8000 people lose their sight because they don't get diabetic retinopathy diagnosed and treated in time.
Don't wait so long for diagnosis and treatment that you go blind. Make an appointment with Lickteig Family Eyecare.
Dilation and examination are a must for your eye doctor to know whether the floaters you see are a sign of something serious that needs immediate correction. Timely diagnosis and treatment can save your sight. If you have been seeing floaters for a long time, and especially if you have recently started seeing a lot more floaters, make your appointment with Lickteig Family Eyecare. A simple eye exam could be what you need to save your sight. You can call our Boston office at 617-988-8136, Natic at 508-653-0919, Dedham at 781-329-0067, and Medford at 781-350-7008.