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Qs about Floaters

I am a 56 year old male and have experienced vitreous floaters for a couple years.  Over the past few months, I've noticed a substantial increase in the number and size of the floaters that have become quite bothersome (although no flashes of light).  I've had two dilated exams by a retina specialist who indicated there is no evidence of retina detachment or holes.  I'm aware that over time floaters can become less bothersome but I have a couple general questions.  1) After a period of a noticeable increase in the number and size of floaters, is there a tendency for the number and size of floaters to decrease, or 2) once begun, do the number and size of floaters tend to remain the same or even continue to progress such that they may be further compromise vision, and 3) I'm aware there is much debate about possible  treatment options for floaters (e.g., floaters-only vitrectomy, laser), however, are there any potential new or improved treatment options that may be coming such that us floaters-sufferers may have some hope for relief in a few years.  Thank you for your attention.
29 Responses
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
There are no formal studies on numbers of floaters since it's so subjective and hard to quantitate. Since floaters are related to posterior vitreous detachments which increase with age the number of people with floaters increases with time.

Speaking from my practice and my personal experience I would say that floaters are most noted during the first weeks after they appear and then we start to tune them out.

Overwhelmingly ophthalmologists do not recommend vitrectomies for floaters. The risks are too high. There are some herbal homeopathic medicines sold to reduce floaters, they are useless and a waste of money.

JCH III MD Eye MD
Avatar universal
Thank you Dr. for your response and comments.
372349 tn?1257795870
I commisurate, as I, too, have the floater desease and am not at all thrilled by this concept!
Avatar universal
Hi:  How did you get over your floaters?  This is barb am having a hard time but am finally starting to get used to mine.  It just moves with your eye right?  This has been tough but how do you get over it?  Barb.
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I didn't get over the floaters. Anytime I go looking for them (look at the sky or computer screen and move my eyes I see them)  I just have learned to tune them out and ignore them.

You can do it too.

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
I don't feel it is in everyone's interest to just ignore floaters especially when they become entangled and create a web right in front of your vision.  If you have really poor vision to begin with it can hamper your ability to read and drive.  I also do bead work and it is almost impossible to see with those entanglements right in my field of vision.

***@****
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hey, by age 50 half the population have harmless aging floaters. There is no medication or laser that gets rid of them and surgery (Vitrectomy) is too dangerous. So what else is there than to try and ignore them?

JCH III MD
Avatar universal
Dear Doctor Joch C Hagan III:

I did have a Vitrectomy to get rid of floaters in my right eye and an  IOL implant after that.  I can see much clearer in that eye and want to have it done to the other eye.  You have to have extremely poor vision with floaters to understand how the Vitrectomy improves your vision.  The operation only took 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to complete.  The only drawback is that you will probably develop a cataract afterwards.  I'm 56 years old and if you are healthy otherwise it isn't that dangerous.  As with any surgery there is a danger, but people take these risks every day.  Where would the gain be in medicine today if patients did nothing and never took the risks to advance it?

***@****
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
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Avatar universal
Hi Dr. Just getting back on the message board; thanks for answering my question; guess what no retinal detachment and my retinal specialist said i only have a few normal floaters.  None in the right eye; my lesion is healed and i do have a scar tissue from the laser treatment.  I wish they had an eye drop for them that you can just go to the store and remove them.  I am looking into surgery as i am tired of having them and the scar tissue to look at.   I am sorry you have to go through this too Doctor.  Mine are affecting my vision.  
586266 tn?1223817191
I feel that floaters differ just as people differ,but telling me to ignore my floaters is like telling me to ignore an elephant in the living room. It is impossible. The good news is my Dr thinks the most bothersome ones that happened during a retinal tear may settle, They looked smaller to him yesterday at my check up,but so far they are the same to me. I find wearing sunglasses helps a lot.
Good luck with yours.
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Floaters: what can't be cured must irgnored.

JCH MD
586266 tn?1223817191
There are other options to ignoring .I know a lady
who elected to take a chance on surgery and is NOW  free of those "elephant floaters" That lady told her Dr that she would rather have no sight in that eye than to have her entire visual field covered with them. She had very little vision anyway, therefore she had nothing to loose, Many have had success with laser. For now I am just wearing sunglasses a lot hsum4. That really has helped me not to see them as much.I also enjoy my rooms dimmed somewhat.
My Drs at Mayo Clinic have assured me that research is being done ,and they are very understanding about how bothersome floaters can be.
I thank God for understanding doctors and for the hope they have offered me. :O)
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Amen.

JCH MD
Avatar universal
Hi This is Barb again; how can you ignore floaters right in front of you and the swirling kind?  I am wearing my sunglasses more and am wearing an eye patch when the swirling gets me crazy; how do you not let them drive you nuts; thanks; sorry that you have them too.  
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Just get busy and do something else. If you have high anxiety then discuss with your GP or a psychiatrist the use of an antianxiety medication.

JCH MD
Avatar universal
Vision must be even worse with an eye patch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
586266 tn?1223817191
All I can say is no one knows what another is seeing out of their  eyes. Some floaters are not too bad. Some are NOT  ignorable no matter how "busy" one gets. No psychiatrist is going to tell me it is all in my mind ,and no medication is going to remove them. Personally , I do not want to live my life on anti anxiety meds. I would rather take a chance on surgery,but that is just how I feel about this topic. We are all entitled to our feelings and opinions.
233488 tn?1310693103
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
-
Avatar universal
I am 27 years old and i got mine last year.. Woke up one morning with tons of "sperm" looking floaters in both eyes..  Why would this occur overnite?? I have been to the dR.  Had my eyes dialated 2x and they say the retinas look good, no tears or anything.  Just wondering if a strain (heavy lifting) can cause floaters.??
Avatar universal
I'm a 58 yr old artist and recently I have been noticing floaters in my eyes. They don't bother me too much and I can easily tune them out, but I'm wondering if they might be related to a sinus problem I've developed over the last year. Is there any possible connection? Also, I have occasional flashes of light , like a thin half moon shaped flash that happens on the side of my left eye when I blink. My brother in law, who is also a nurse, said it could be the beginning of retinal detachment. But I just feel it may have something to do with my sinus problem. I'll be having an eye exam soon for sunglasses, and I'm hoping that exam will provide some more info. Thanks for your reply and comments, and thank you for hosting this post!
Avatar universal
I forgot to mention that in my 30's I was diagnosed with Von Willebrand's Disease and had quite a hard time recovering from an operation to correct a hernia. My concern is having surgery of any kind, and if I needed eye surgery, would my bleeding problem interfere with the healing process?
334194 tn?1288289595
Floaters can be different things.  Imagine a bowl of transpartent Jello, and inside there is either some debris or tiny specks or "cracks".   That stuff is unlikely to get fixed by itself.   With age the vitreous gel can get more liquid, and thus floaters arise.    In some cases it can be caused by certain eye disease.    Theres no remedy (today) for these, and I would think your case should be extreme, and visually imparing, to undergo vitrectomy.  Only the ones that settle out of "line of sight" will go away.   Your best bet prevention, and to stay healthy avoiding processed foods and other toxins, to keep your eye health.   Dont take your eyes for granted.



Avatar universal
Ignoring is the best cure for floater's as it cannot be eliminated in a safe way & even if its eliminated, one may become anxious about potential side effects of procedure after that.

Also floater's are harmless and consider it as a life time companion rather than as an enemy.
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