Eye Floaters

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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How do health-care professionals diagnose eye floaters?

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 mounted on the head of the doctor. 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 that require further tests or treatments.

Do eye floaters go away?

Most eye floaters decrease in size, density, and darkness with time. Some of this is due to actual absorption of the floater through the natural processes within the eye. Eye floaters may also shift in position within the eye, resulting in less of a shadow effect. In addition, the human brain tends to adapt to and often become used to the presence of eye floaters, ignoring them in a manner similar to the way a person only notices the feeling of shoes on their feet when they think about it. Eye floaters eventually tend to become less bothersome, both through reduction in density and size and the above described process of neuro-adaptation. Anxiety about the symptom of floaters can make the floaters more noticeable.

What is the treatment for eye floaters?

There are no safe and proven methods to cure the symptom of eye floaters caused by vitreous syneresis or posterior vitreous detachment. Most will fade over time and become less annoying or noticeable. Learning relaxation techniques may hasten the neurologic adaptation to persistent eye floaters.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/3/2016

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  • Floaters - Causes

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  • Floaters - What They Look Like

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