Eye Floaters (cont.)

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What are the risk factors for developing eye floaters?

Being nearsighted (myopic) is a risk factor for eye floaters occurring earlier in life. The process of vitreous syneresis is accelerated in eyes that are highly myopic, and posterior vitreous detachments occur at a younger age in people who are significantly nearsighted. Diabetes is a risk factor for the development of eye floaters that arise due to diabetic retinopathy. Eye injury is an additional risk factor.

Are eye floaters dangerous?

Eye floaters can be annoying, but by themselves they are not dangerous. The majority of eye floaters are caused by normal aging changes within the eye. However, a person developing symptoms of eye floaters should be checked by an ophthalmologist to make certain that there is no associated eye abnormality which requires treatment. A sudden onset of many eye floaters or the onset of eye floaters associated with flashing lights could signify a retinal tear that requires treatment to prevent retinal detachment. A curtain or cloud in the vision or a loss of side vision could be a symptom of associated retinal detachment.

How are eye floaters diagnosed?

When a patient goes to the ophthalmologist with the symptom of eye floaters, the doctor will first ask the patient questions about them. The ophthalmologist will check the patient's vision, look at the front of the eyes with a slit lamp, and then place drops in the eyes to dilate the pupils. After the pupils are dilated, the retina and vitreous will be examined with bright lights from an ophthalmoscope. The ophthalmologist will be able to see the eye floaters themselves and will be able to tell the patient whether there are any associated abnormalities which require further tests or treatments.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/3/2012

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Floaters - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with floaters.
Floaters - Causes Question: What was the cause of your eye floaters?
Floaters - What They Look Like Question: Describe how your floater first appeared, and what it looked like.
Floaters - How Common? Question: At what age did your floater first appear? How often have you gotten a floater(s)?
Floaters - Eye Diseases Question: Do you have an eye disease associated with floaters? Was the floater a symptom of the eye condition or disease?
Floaters - Disappearance Question: Did your eye floater go away? If so, how long did it take? Please share your story.
Floaters - Surgery Question: Did you have surgery to remove floaters? Please share your experience.

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