World-leading ophthalmology care to keep your eyes healthy and protect your vision
Floaters are small dots and lines that appear in the line of vision. They're not usually worrying; however, they can be the indication of retinal detachment, a serious eye condition that could put your vision at risk.
London Medical’s ophthalmologists are experts in the assessment of eye floaters and the treatment of retinal detachment. Using the latest, cutting-edge equipment they can quickly check whether the floaters are problematic. If there is any evidence of retinal detachment, they can operate in the clinic’s state-of-the-art theatres to reattach your retina and safeguard your eyesight.
What are eye floaters?
Eye floaters are small dots, lines, squiggles or rings that appear in your vision. They’re common, especially as we grow older and don’t usually indicate anything serious. Floaters are unlikely to be a problem if they’re staying the same, you’ve had them for a long time and your vision is unaffected. Floaters often become less noticeable with time, probably because you get used to their presence. Treatment is only necessary if they are interrupting vision.
Eye floaters are caused by changes in the vitreous gel that fills your eyeball. The vitreous shrinks with age and pulls away from the retina, this posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) usually doesn’t cause serious damage, but in one in ten people it can cause retinal detachment, an eye emergency in which the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye separates from the underlying tissues.
What are the symptoms of eye floaters?
Eye floaters are shapes that appear in your vision. They take many shapes including wavy lines, dots, cobwebs and tadpoles. They can be more noticeable in bright light.
Sometimes, floaters can be a symptom of retinal detachment, contact London Medical, NHS 111 or your local Accident and Emergency if you’ve noticed:
- Floaters suddenly appearing in your vision
- An increase in the number of floaters
- Flashes of light in your vision
- A dark shadow or curtain spreading across your field of vision
- Deterioration in eyesight with vision being distorted or blurred
- Your eye is painful
It is important to get assessment within 24 hours, but anyone who is worried about changes in their vision should seek specialist advice. London Medical offers a daily clinic with leading ophthalmologists and optometry care, so that you can quickly access expert opinion.
Diagnosis of eye floaters at London Medical
London Medical is equipped with the latest technology for accurately diagnosing eye disease. The specialist will assess your vision and examine the back of the eye using an ophthalmoscope. They’ll use a slit lamp, a special ophthalmic microscope with a bright light, to fully examine your eye as you look in different directions.
Drops are usually applied to open up the pupils and make it easier to inspect the retina. These can affect your vision for a short time, so it’s sensible to come with a friend or family member.
Treatment of eye floaters at London Medical
Your ophthalmologist will consider your vision, your examination and the effect the floaters are having on your life before tailoring a treatment plan. Most eye floaters do not require treatment; however, they can be frustrating and it may take time to get used to them.
If your eye floaters are impairing your vision and affecting your quality of life your ophthalmologist can operate to reduce your symptoms:
Vitrectomy: Through a small incision, the surgeon can remove the vitreous jelly and replace it with a synthetic gel to help the eye keep its shape.
Laser therapy. Your ophthalmologist will use a specialist laser to target floaters in the vitreous and break them up so they are less noticeable.
Frequently Asked Questions
PVD is most common in people over the age of 50, however, it’s possible to develop the condition at an earlier age, particularly if you’re short-sighted, you’ve had eye surgery or if your eye has been injured.
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Mr Hove is a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Western Eye Hospital and London Medical.
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