So you’ve been warned about floaters (those bright little dots that only you can see, which last for a few seconds), especially if you have a high prescription. But are they really so serious that you need to be concerned and watching out for them every day? Floaters may occur for a number of reasons but, remember, they aren’t always emergency situations. Keep reading to learn about floaters and some of the myths about them.
Floaters are Always Bad
Floaters do not always spell disaster, so take a deep breath and relax. Though you may be worrying about them, they are completely harmless much of the time. Most of the time, they simply float around in your vision for a few seconds and then disappear. They can manifest as dots, webs, or squiggly lines. They often disappear as quickly as they arrive, and don’t mean anything more serious than a mild distraction.
Floaters Mean You Will Go Blind
Floaters do not automatically mean that you are going to lose your vision, and they don’t mean that you must rush to the hospital in fear that you will go blind. Just as the rest of our body ages, our eyes do, too. And that means changes we need to adjust to. Loosened cells that occur as the eye ages often cause the little floating dots or lines in your vision, and will resolve themselves (sometimes over a few days, which can be annoying).
Those of us who are very nearsighted, have diabetes, or who have had a cataract operation are more likely to experience floaters. If they obstruct your vision, then it is time to consult your doctor.
Floaters are Harmless
Unfortunately, sometimes floaters can in fact be a sign of a serious eye issue. If your eye doctor has specifically warned you about floaters, keep that advice in mind and remember to follow up with them. In certain patients, floaters may mean something serious is happening behind the scenes, especially if the floaters remain longer than normal.
Keep in mind that floaters that are accompanied by flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision could signal a retinal detachment. This is a serious issue that can cause permanent vision loss. If you see floaters with flashes of light, please call your physician right away.