Your doctor will conduct a complete eye exam including eye dilation to better see the back of your eyes and the vitreous to determine the cause of the floaters.
Any underlying cause of the floaters, such as bleeding from diabetes or inflammation, will be treated. However, most eye floaters don't require treatment. Eye floaters can be frustrating, and adjusting to them can take time. Once you know the floaters will not cause any more problems, you may eventually be able to ignore them or notice them less often.
If your eye floaters impair your vision, which happens rarely, you and your eye doctor may consider treatment. Options may include:
- Surgery to remove the vitreous. An ophthalmologist removes the vitreous through a small incision (vitrectomy) and replaces it with a solution to help your eye maintain its shape. Surgery may not remove all the floaters, and new floaters can develop after surgery. Risks of a vitrectomy include bleeding and retinal tears.
- Using a laser to disrupt the floaters. An ophthalmologist aims a special laser at the floaters in the vitreous, which may break them up and make them less noticeable. Some people who have this treatment report improved vision; others notice little or no difference. Risks of laser therapy include damage to your retina if the laser is aimed incorrectly. Laser surgery to treat floaters is used infrequently.
Preparing for your appointment
If you're concerned about eye floaters, make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in eye disorders (optometrist or ophthalmologist). If you have complications that require treatment, you'll need to see an ophthalmologist. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms. Note situations that increase eye floaters you see or times when you see fewer eye floaters.
- List medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For eye floaters, some basic questions to ask include:
- Why do I see these eye floaters?
- Will they always be there?
- What can I do to prevent more from occurring?
- Are there treatments available?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take? What websites do you recommend?
- Do I need a follow-up appointment, and, if so, when?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did your eye floaters begin?
- Which eye has the floaters?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Have you recently noticed an increase in the number of floaters?
- Have you seen light flashes?
- Does anything seem to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Have you ever had eye surgery?
- Do you have medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure?
Jan. 31, 2018
- Facts about floaters. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/floaters/floaters.asp. Accessed Dec. 14, 2017.
- Charles S. Vitreous. In: Vaughan & Asbury's General Ophthalmology. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2018. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Dec. 15, 2017.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Disorders of the eye. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Dec. 15, 2017.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Eye emergencies. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2016. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Dec. 15, 2017.