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Treating Eye Floaters At Our Las Vegas Optometrist

Eye floaters are common, and in most cases, they're nothing to worry about. They result from a process that takes place in the gel and fluid that fill the center of the eye. This material, known as vitreous, starts out as gel. As it ages, the center becomes more liquid. Floaters are seen when a small piece of the gel breaks off and falls into the liquefied part. Interestingly, the floaters you see aren't the pieces of vitreous gel. Instead, they're shadows that are cast when the pieces float between a light source and the retina in the back of the eye.

closeup of woman blue eye

When to Go to the Eye Doctor

There are a few instances when eye floaters are not benign, but are symptoms of a serious problem. One is if you suddenly see a huge amount of them, and the other is if they're accompanied by seeing flashes or waves of light. Both typically indicate that the vitreous material is pulling away from the retina. This can tear or detach the retina, so it is a vision-threatening condition.

Vitreous gel is normally pressed up against, and attached to, the retina's surface. This attachment makes it so that if the vitreous shrinks, it pulls on the retina. The eye sends signals down the optic nerve in response, and the brain interprets the signals as flashes of light. The flashes can look like lightning, starbursts, or something less identifiable, but are definitely noticeable.

Diagnosis

A dilated eye exam will allow optometrists in Las Vegas to check the condition of your vitreous and retina. If both are healthy, the diagnosis will most likely be benign eye floaters. When the vitreous is pulled away or the retina is damaged, the diagnosis will change accordingly.

Treatment of Benign Eye Floaters

Years ago, the only way to get rid of floaters, other than waiting for them to go away on their own, was to surgically remove the vitreous. Needless to say, not many patients - or doctors - were eager to partake. Fortunately, modern treatments are far less risky or invasive.

Now, large floaters can be vaporized by a laser in just minutes, and full activity can be resumed right after. Drs. Kopolow and Girisgen report that this is a huge improvement over the old, radical method. It leaves the vitreous intact, sparing the eye's structure while eliminating large, distracting floaters.

Small floaters typically don't take long to dissolve even without treatment. Therefore, they are usually left to do so on their own.

If you want to get rid of large floaters, are seeing an abundance of floaters of any size, or you aren't sure if what you're seeing indicates a problem or not, see an eye doctor right away. Proper diagnosis and treatment will help to ensure that your vision remains safe.