Can Eye Floaters Cause Blindness? 5 Signs You Need to See an Eye Doctor

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Healthy eyes are often described as having sufficient lubrication, white sclera, and good vision.

If you visit your eye specialist in Dubai, they will check your sense of sight and confirm if your eyes are in good health.

However, there will be instances wherein you’ll feel your eyes are not in excellent condition. These can include suddenly or occasionally seeing floaters.

What Are Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters are tiny dark shapes that appear in your line of vision. They usually look like black or gray specks, spots, strings or cobwebs that drift or float when you move your eyes and seem to scoot away when you try to look at them directly.

Specific symptoms of eye floaters include:

  • Tiny, dark or transparent shapes in your vision that look like specks or knobby strings of floating material.
  • Small shapes or thin filaments that ultimately settle down and go away from your line of vision.
  • Spots or specks that move when you move your eyes but disappear from your line of vision when you try to focus on them.
  • Visible spots or specks that become more noticeable when you’re looking at a plain bright background.

Most of the time, these floaters are typically harmless and simply come and go.

But what causes eye floaters? These are often caused by the condensation of the clear gel-like fluid or vitreous inside your eyes.

The liquification of the vitreous causes the gel to separate from the eye wall, which causes a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). If the vitreous gel is adhering tightly to the retina and causing traction, it may lead to retinal detachment. This process is typically age-related. However, it is usually associated with or can be caused by nearsightedness, as well as inflammation inside the eye and trauma due to sports eye injuries and surgery.

Bleeding in the vitreous, which occurs in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions, is also one of the top causes of eye floaters .

When Should You Worry About Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters usually go away on their own and are harmless. However, there are instances wherein they can be signs or symptoms of deeper problems. See your doctor when you experience the following signs:

1. Floaters that seem to increase in number over time.

If the spots or filaments you see seem to be growing in number whenever they appear, see your eye specialist immediately.

2. Floaters that don’t seem to go away.

As mentioned, eye floaters disappear after a while. However, in severe cases, they won’t go away no matter how often you blink, move, and close your eyes.

3. Difficulty seeing clearly.

The appearance of too many floaters at a time can make it hard for you to see clearly. This warrants a need for consultation with an eye specialist immediately.

4. Flashes of light.

Flashes of light may sometimes accompany floaters in one eye or both eyes. This can be uncomfortable and become the cause of vision problems. If you experience this, see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

5. Seeing a dark shadow in your peripheral vision.

If you see a dark shadow or “curtain” on the sides (peripheral) of your vision, consult a specialist. This dark spot may also sometimes appear in the middle of your field of vision.

These symptoms usually indicate a retinal detachment or retinal tear, which are possible  causes of blindness and require immediate diagnosis and treatment.

How Does a Retinal Detachment Cause Blindness?

Retinal detachment is one of the top causes of the common types of blindness, including permanent total blindness.

When your retina separates from the choroid, the connective tissue holding it in place and supplying it with blood and nutrients, the photoreceptors in your eyes die. And this can cause permanent vision loss or blindness.

How Are Eye Floaters Treated?

If you only have mild floaters that go away and don’t seem to worsen over time and your ophthalmologist does not detect a retinal detachment or tear, you likely won’t need treatment.

However, if you have a severe case of this vision problem, your eye doctor might use a special laser for your eye floaters treatment.

If your floaters are severe, interfere with your vision and are accompanied by a retinal problem, you may have to undergo a vitrectomy, a surgery wherein the specialist will have to remove your vitreous.

Since retinal detachment is one of the most serious causes of blindness, you need to have this problem treated immediately.

To check if you have retinal detachment, your specialist will perform a dilated eye exam.

Your doctor will squeeze some eye drops to dilate your pupil. Once your pupils are dilated, they will inspect your retina.

The entire process is often painless. However, if your doctor suspects you have a retinal detachment or tear, they may press on your eyelids, and this can lead to some minor discomfort.

If your specialist still needs more information after getting the results of your dilated eye exam, you may undergo an ultrasound or an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan of your eye.

These tests are painless and can help your ophthalmologist see the exact position and condition of your retina.

Note the Appearance of Floaters

Although floaters are mostly harmless, keep track of how often you see them and any other symptoms you are experiencing.

With immediate and proper diagnosis and treatment, you can prevent eye floaters from causing blindness and other serious vision problems.

Schedule a consultation with our specialists to have your eyes checked if you’re frequently seeing eye floaters.