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Eye floaters are one of those things that most people notice sooner or later in life. In fact, anywhere from 50-99% of people will develop floaters at some point. But how and when do eye floaters become serious? Read on as a Marysville, WA optometrist talks about eye floaters, when to take them seriously, and when to seek medical attention.
Eye floaters are the little dots, spots, or strings of light you see when you look at the sky or a blank wall. If you’ve never had eye floaters before, it can be pretty alarming—especially if you find them in your field of vision while driving!
The spots you see are bits of protein in the vitreous humor (the gel-like substance that fills most of the eyeball). When something gets caught in the vitreous humor, it can cast a shadow on your retina and create an optical illusion of movement as it tumbles around in front of your eye. You may also see flashes of light or have trouble focusing your vision on things close up.
Eye floaters are more common than you might think. In fact, approximately 40% of people between the ages of 50 and 80 will develop them at some point.
There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing eye floaters, including:
Eye floaters can be a nuisance, but they’re generally not cause for concern. That being said, there are some instances when you should definitely seek medical attention for your eye floaters.
A simple rule of thumb is that if you experience new floaters or an increase in their number, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. If you notice a change in the appearance or location of your floaters (for example, if they move from one side of your vision to another), this may also warrant a visit to the eye doctor.
If you have persistent eye floaters accompanied by flashes of light in your field of vision, it’s important that you seek treatment immediately because these symptoms can indicate retinal detachment or bleeding in the eye.
You should also see an optometrist if you experience any sudden decrease in vision or if your vision becomes blurry after looking at bright lights or at night.
If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye exam, please don’t hesitate to call our Marysville, WA optometry office today!