The Top Five Questions Commonly Asked About Eye Floaters, Answered
As you’re reading this article off of your bright computer screen, you’re probably more aware now than ever of the little dark specks drifting around your field of vision, lagging just behind your focus point – they are commonly referred to as eye floaters. Though you probably see them every day, you might not know much about what they are or where they come from. Here are a few answers to the top five most common questions about eye floaters!
- What causes eye floaters?
Typically, eye floaters are caused by what’s called posterior vitreous detachments (PVDs). These are a result of the vitreous gel within your eyes becoming thinner as you age. As this gel thins out, protein fibers within the gel called collagen begin to move freely and clump together, creating those little dancing shadows in your line of sight. Don’t worry – this process may sound scary, but it is perfectly normal as you get older. In fact, 70% of people will have some type of eye floater in their lifetime because of it.
- Are there ways to get rid of my eye floaters?
Because eye floaters are typically benign, most eye doctors will recommend that patients simply learn to live with them instead of opting for medical intervention. However, for those with floaters that severely impact their field of vision, there are currently two methods of treatment.
The first is a method known as a vitrectomy. This is a surgical procedure in which part of the vitreous gel and the floaters within it are removed through an incision in the eye. However, like any surgery, vitrectomy carries the risk of infection. For certain types of floaters, this may be the only viable removal option. The best option to determine if this treatment is right for you is to discuss these issues thoroughly with your doctor.
The second, and newest form of treatment is known as laser vitreolysis, also called Laser Floater Removal (LFR). This minimally-invasive procedure utilizes a highly specialized optic laser which targets the small clumps of vitreous gel clouding your vision and breaks them apart without requiring a surgical incision. The procedure has a low complication rate and is performed on an outpatient basis. This procedure is quickly becoming accepted by ophthalmologists, but it may not be effective for treating all types of floaters.
- Is there something I can change in my diet or habits that prevent eye floaters?
Because floaters arise as a normal part of the aging process, floaters cannot be prevented through dietary or lifestyle adjustments. Additionally, there are currently no medications that can eliminate or reduce the presence of eye floaters.
- Will my insurance cover eye floater treatment?
In some cases, your insurance provider may allow coverage for floater treatment. However, treatment coverage differs from provider to provider, and even practice to practice. Before seeking treatment, it is always best to call your specialist to discuss their accepted insurance types.
- How do I find a doctor who treats eye floaters?
While Laser Floater Removal (LFR) technology is still fairly new in the field of ophthalmic medicine, more and more doctors are beginning to specialize in the procedure. If you’re interested in a consultation to treat your eye floaters, check out our Doctor Locator Tool to find a doctor near you who specializes in treating eye floaters.