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How to Treat Eye Floaters

written by: Roohi Khan • edited by: dianahardin • updated: 6/29/2011

Are you looking for treatment options for eye floaters? There are medications that can help, as well as surgery, and laser treatment to remove annoying floaters in the eyes.

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    Eye Floater Causes

    Eye floaters are small specks of dust or wispy thread-like images drifting across the vision that move as you move your eyes. There are different types of floaters, and they all have different causes. If the eyes are inflamed, injured, or if you are nearsighted and above the age of fifty, you are more likely to develop this condition.

    Floaters are a result of changes in the jelly-like substance, called vitreous humor, inside the eyes. With age, this substance becomes more liquid, causing the fibers within the vitreous humor to clump together. This forms tiny shadows on the retina, creating specks and spots in the vision.

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    Treatment of Eye Floaters

    Medical treatment is not normally required for the treatment of eye floaters; however, a sudden increase in the number of floaters, seeing flashes of light, or a loss of peripheral vision is a sure sign that consulting an eye doctor would be a good idea. These could be symptoms of a retinal tear, which requires immediate medical attention. Only an eye doctor determine the cause of floaters and suggest the appropriate eye floater treatment.

    Options for treatment are limited, and none of them have proven to be effective for the complete cure of this vision condition. There are some treatment options, however, that may help.

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    Medications

    Although no clinical trials have proven this, certain herbs and vitamins can help decrease eye floaters. Vitamins A and C, lutein, and herbs such as bilberry, gardenia, gingko and milk thistle are believed to be effective both in preventing and decreasing floaters.

    If the floaters are caused by inflammation, infection, or injury, a doctor may suggest anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics to treat the underlying condition. Although eye drops can help in providing rest and relaxation to the eyes, there are no specific medications that can treat this eye condition.

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    Vitrectomy

    If floaters significantly affect the vision, a physician may suggest a surgery called vitrectomy. This surgery removes the jelly-like vitreous humor responsible for this condition. The surgeon in this case inserts a hollow needle and withdraws the vitreous humor. It is then replaced with a saltwater solution.

    Although it may not remove all the specks and spots in the vision, in most cases it will reduce their number. There is, however, a danger of retinal detachment or developing a cataract following this procedure.

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    Laser Treatment

    Some eye doctors advocate the use of laser treatment to break up eye floaters. The procedure, known as laser vitreolysis, uses a yttrium-aluminum garnet (YAG laser) to vaporize the floaters within the eye. In this procedure, a numbing eye drop is provided, and a special contact lens is placed on the eye. The laser is then used to vaporize the floaters. It may also be used to vaporize the floaters' attachments, so that it attaches itself to a different part of the eye. The procedure may take anywhere from five to thirty minutes.

    There are very few eye doctors who perform this surgery. It also comes with its own risks, since the use of a laser can cause vision problems in a healthy eye. Also, even laser treatment cannot remove floaters that are very tiny or small.

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    Eye Floater Prevention

    None of the eye floater treatment options mentioned above guarantee removal of the specks of dust or wispy threads floating across the vision. The best option is to prevent this condition by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, and having regular eye examinations. If you do notice a sudden appearance of these floaters, or if they get worse, make sure to consult an eye doctor immediately.

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