DECEMBER 2013
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Guest Column

Can our Floaters, Float away?

By DR. ARUN C. GULANI

Eye floaters; we all have it, well nearly all of us. Floaters are those annoying, small moving spots that appear in your field of vision. They may be especially noticeable when you look at something bright, such as white paper or the blue sky or like I mention to patients “when you are looking at nothing”! Because when you look at nothing, you tend to see imperfections inside your eyes.

So effectively, these floaters could have entertainment value for those of us who are bored with nothing much to do since they do have interesting shapes and flow.

Alright, let’s get serious. The back of our eye is filled with a clear, jelly like substance called Vitreous. This is made of numerous collagen fibers which with age (and especially if you are nearsighted or have had eye surgery), shrink and accumulate in this vitreous to cast shadows on the retina thus blocking light coming in along that path (hence shadow). So, floaters are usually caused by small protein particles called collagen.

Most people learn to live with them and over time these floaters gravitate below our visual axis in the eye. But sometimes eye floaters could be sign of a more serious condition. You should seek immediate medical attention if you notice a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters, change in color especially red or sudden large floater. Seek medical attention immediately, especially if the floaters are accompanied by flashes of light or a loss of side vision since it signifies retinal detachment

As far as my instruction to patients is concerned, see your eye doctor at the sign of your first floater just to be sure that it is not pathological, associated with retinal problems, blood, tumor, crystals, etc. And if you see flashes of lights in your entertainment schedule, rush to the eye doctor immediately.

So, most people tolerate them and in grave cases, a surgery called vitrectomy can be undertaken though with its own ominous risks. A Laser could be used in some select cases to help improve the symptom.

In summary, if you have a floater, check with your eye doctor what kind of floaters you have and is there a remedy or is it one more token of maturity and aging along with Presbyopia and then – Live with it!

Arun C. Gulani, M.D., M.S., is director and chief surgeon of Gulani Vision Institute in Jacksonville. He can be reached at gulanivision@gulani.com or visit www.gulanivision.com

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