Floaters are generally harmless cellular debris that are most noticeable when you are reading. Floaters also are a potential sign of a serious eye condition — retinal detachment — requiring specialized expertise to treat. Austin Eye Center features Fuad Makkouk, MD, a Yale fellowship-trained surgical retina specialist. He determines whether your floaters are harmless, and provides advanced treatment for retinal detachment when necessary to preserve your vision. For expert eye care, call today or book a consultation online.
Floaters are floating specks of cellular debris that sometimes cross your line of vision, particularly when you are concentrating on a task. Floaters drift around in the vitreous, the jellylike substance that makes up around 80% of your eye.
Floaters take various forms. They may appear as:
Floaters are common, and most adults have at least one or more in their eyes. In the majority of cases the debris is harmless. However, floaters also may be a sign of a detached retina, a serious condition.
Floaters occur when the vitreous inside your eye slowly shrinks with age. As it shrinks, vitreous becomes somewhat stringy, making strands that cast tiny shadows on your retina. These are floaters.
In most cases, floaters are simply a sign that your eyes are aging. In time, floaters eventually drift to the bottom of your eye, where they are less noticeable.
In some instances, floaters may be a warning sign of a serious problem with your retina. Reach out to Austin Eye Center right away if you notice you have a lot of new floaters all of a sudden, or a gray curtain appears to be blocking part of your vision. Also, seek immediate attention if a shadow appears and remains in your side vision.
These symptoms could indicate that your retina has pulled away from the back of your eye, or detached. A detached retina is an emergency and may lead to permanent visual damage in 2-3 days without proper treatment.
If Dr. Makkouk determines your floaters are a sign of retinal detachment, he draws on his expertise as a fellowship-trained retinal surgeon to recommend the appropriate surgery to repair your retina.
Dr. Makkouk typically treats most cases of retinal detachment with laser eye surgery, freezing treatment (cryotherapy), or vitrectomy. Vitrectomy is an outpatient procedure where Dr. Makkouk uses a microscope and tiny surgical instruments to replace your vitreous with a gas bubble to repair your retina.
If you are concerned about floaters, get peace of mind and expert eye care from the retina specialists at Austin Eye Center. Call or schedule a consultation online today.