Almost everyone experiences eye floaters from time to time, but if your floaters become constant or get worse, it may point to a more serious underlying health problem. At Russell Micah Levine, MD in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, ophthalmologist Russell Levine, MD, regularly works with people of all ages to diagnose and treat eye floaters and flashes. To schedule your appointment, call the New York City office and speak with a friendly team member or book a consultation online today.
Eye floaters are spots or squiggles that appear in your line of vision. They may look like black or gray cobwebs, dots, or strings.
Most eye floaters occur due to age-related changes that affect your vitreous, the jelly-like substance inside your eyes. As you get older, the vitreous becomes more liquid. As the fibers of the vitreous break down, they clump together and cast shadows on your retina. It’s these shadows that cause floaters.
Eye flashes are another type of vision disturbance. Like floaters, flashes can occur in different sizes and shapes, and vary in frequency. Eye flashes can occur for a variety of reasons, but they’re usually due to pressure or force on your retina. For example, if you rub your eye, it pulls on the fibers in your vitreous.
You may see flashes or sparks of light anytime shifts in the vitreous cause tugging on the retina. These flashes or streaks can appear anywhere in your field of vision. Sometimes, floaters and flashes can suggest serious eye health issues such as a retinal tear, retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, or eye infection.
The symptoms of eye floaters and flashes vary from person to person and depend on the underlying cause. Common indicates of floaters and flashes include:
Almost everyone experiences floaters or flashes at one time or another. However, if your symptoms persist, or especially if they get worse, make an appointment with Dr. Levine as soon as possible.
To diagnose eye floaters, Dr. Levine conducts an eye exam, reviews your medical history, and asks you about the symptoms you’re experiencing.
He dilates your pupils and looks at the back of your eyes to determine the health and condition of your vitreous and retina. Usually, these measures are enough to pinpoint the underlying cause of the flashes or floaters you’re experiencing.
Treatment of floaters depends on the underlying cause and severity of your symptoms. If your floaters are due to bleeding, diabetes, inflammation, or a retinal tear, Dr. Levine works to control these issues and prevent them from getting worse.
If your symptoms are mild, Dr. Levine might recommend a “watch and wait” approach. Although eye floaters are frustrating, they may change and become less problematic over time, or you may learn to adjust to them.
If your floaters are persistently bothersome and impair your ability to function, Dr. Levine might refer you to a trusted retina specialist colleague who can discuss surgical or laser treatment for floaters.
If you’d like to have your floaters evaluated, schedule an appointment at Russell Micah Levine, MD. Call the office and speak with a friendly team member or book a consultation online today.