How Long do Floaters Last?

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Have you noticed random black/gray dots, spots, strings, or specks in your field of vision? Does your visual field resemble a dusty camera lens? Does it constantly look like there’s a bug flying around you, even when there isn’t – almost like a bug crawling across a computer screen?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, then you might be suffering from something known as eye floaters – they appear as tiny black spots that drift across your field of vision. Some floaters are larger than others, but they’ll have an impact on your vision quality either way.

Most floaters are caused by the natural aging process. As we grow older, the collagen that makes up the vitreous gel starts breaking down and clumping together. When this happens, they cast a shadow onto your retina (back of the eye), which presents itself as a dark spot (floater).

How Long Do Floaters Last?

Eye floaters can be annoying and irritating throughout the day, but there is good news. While most eye floaters will never truly disappear, they do generally decrease in size and severity daily – becoming less and less irritating as time passes. This is encouraging to many people.

All things considered, eye floaters can take anywhere from a couple weeks to six months to ‘disappear.’ If you’re lucky, the floater will move out of your visual field, at which point you wouldn’t even know it was there.

Not only that, but treatment can help you find relief.

In some cases, floaters are persistent and overstay their welcome – impacting your ability to see clearly and comfortably. Either way, you shouldn’t ignore eye floaters as it might be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. The last thing you want to do is make the matter worse.

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When to See an Eye Doctor

Eye floaters aren’t usually considered medical emergencies, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them when they come. To be safe and sure, you should make an appointment with your local eye doctor or ophthalmologist if you notice any eye floaters in your field of vision.

The need for an eye doctor increases if you experience a sudden increase in the number of floaters, loss of peripherals, eye pain, floaters that only appear after surgery, or flashes of light. These may be symptoms of a deeper concern — such as a condition called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) — so don’t hesitate to contact your eye doctor immediately.

Those that are at an increased risk of floaters include people over the age of 50, anyone with myopia (nearsightedness), diabetes patients, people with previous eye problems, and/or those who recently had cataract surgery. Regular eye doctor appointments can help monitor it.

How to Diagnose & Treat Floaters in the Eye

When a patient experiences floaters or flashes in the eye, their eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to get a better look at its health and function. More specifically, the doctor will perform a dilated pupil exam and closely examine the retina for any damage.

Your doctor might also ask you a number of questions to better understand your symptoms, including:

  • When did you first notice the floaters?
  • How severe are the floaters?
  • How often do the floaters appear?
  • How many floaters appear at once?
  • Have you experienced flashes in your field of vision?
  • Have you had eye surgery or suffered an eye injury recently?
  • Are you noticing any shadows in your peripheral vision?

Treatment largely depends on the severity of the condition. If the floaters are impacting your ability to see clearly, then treatment is necessary. If the floaters are barely noticeable, treatment can usually be avoided. Either way, your eye doctor will determine what’s best for your eyes.

If treatment is necessary, they might suggest a vitrectomy – a surgical procedure that removes your natural vitreous and replaces it with a safe solution. Your doctor may also suggest laser surgery, which breaks up the floaters and makes them smaller – meaning less noticeable.

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Natural Ways to Prevent Vitreous Floaters

Whether you want to believe it or not, a strong majority of people will experience floaters at least once in their life. While it won’t be severe for everyone and some people might not even notice it, floaters are more common than you think. Don’t worry, there are things you can do to help.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to prevent eye floaters and flashes:

  • Do your best to avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol or smoking cigarettes frequently.
  • Give your eyes enough rest throughout the day – don’t stare at a screen all day long!
  • Make sure you’re drinking enough water and staying hydrated throughout the day.
  • Find reliable and effective methods of managing stress and anxiety.
  • Eat healthy foods, avoid harmful foods, and eat a regular, well-balanced diet daily.
  • Get enough physical activity each day – even if it’s just 30 minutes per day!
  • Patience is a virtue – remember, most eye floaters will naturally fade over time.
  • Use eye drops when needed and avoid scratching or itching your eyes.

They often say that early detection is the best prevention. If you notice eye floaters in your field of vision, take action immediately. Schedule an appointment with your eye doctor and be honest about your symptoms. The longer you avoid it, the more you put your vision in harm’s way.

Schedule an Appointment With Milwaukee Eye Surgeons!

Have you recently experienced floaters in your visual field? Are you worried that your floaters or flashes will lead to retinal detachment or a retinal tear? Are your eye floaters getting in the way of seeing clearly and properly? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, contact us!

At Milwaukee Eye Surgeons, we provide a wide range of eye care services to ensure the Milwaukee community is blessed with clear vision. We understand that eyes are the windows to the soul, which is why we’re dedicated to preserving eye health and eye function long-term.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our gifted team members – we can’t wait to meet you!

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