Simply defined, eye floaters are dark specks in the form of dots, circles, lines, or cobwebs that appear to move across your field of vision. They can take many shapes, sizes and numbers, and appear to drift aimlessly. Eye floaters never seem to stay still when you focus on them, rather they move in different directions.
Most eye floaters are annoying, but common. Seeing them in your vision is not something that should necessarily cause alarm.What Causes Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters are caused by small clumps of visible material within the vitreous body of the eye.
They may seem to be in front of you, but are really actually floating within the vitreous body. The retina interprets them as shadows.
Eye floaters can occur because your eye is irritated, or also because there are crystal-like deposits in the vitreous body.
As we get older, the vitreous shrinks and separates from the retina. In our youth, the vitreous body has a gel-like consistency. As we age, it begins to dissolve and liquefy to a watery center. Eye floaters are undissolved gel particles.
In 50% of the population, the vitreous body has separated from the retina by age 50. Most people are not aware that this process has occurred in their own eyes. This may be because most of the time, the vitreous body separates from the retina without any problem at all.
You may notice a problem if there’s bleeding into the vitreous body, which can be associated with a retinal tear. This will then results in a new shower of floaters. These retinal tears should be repaired right away, because they can eventually lead to a much more serious problem – retinal detachment.
A retinal tear can be repaired in a short hospital stay, but it’s a major operation to fix a complete retinal detachment. So if there are warning signs – listen to them! You’ll avoid further complications and higher medical bills, not to mention longer hospital stays.
Up to 50% of people with a retinal tear will have a detachment, that can likely be prevented with proper care.
If you’re nearsighted, have suffered a significant eye injury or have had a cataracts operation, you’re at a higher risk of retinal detachment.
Another related problem to be aware of is photopsia. Photopsia is characterized by light flashes in your eye. Basically what happens is that the retina receives non-visual stimulation. Usually, it receives visual stimulation in the form of light coming into the eye that is converted into an electrical impulse the brain can make sense of. Non-visual stimulation occurs when the retina is tugged, torn, or detached.How to Diagnose a Problem
Should you be worried about the possibility of a retinal tear or retinal detachment?
The answer is yes… and no. It depends.
Some ways to take care of yourself and stack the odds in your favor include seeing your eye care professional at least once a year, or more if you suspect eye health issues. Your eye health care professional will provide you with a dilated eye exam, which will focus on looking into the part of the retina that’s not easy to see. You should absolutely schedule an appointment if you notice a sudden appearance of new floaters.
You should know that floaters rarely require surgery. There is a procedure you can do called a vitrectomy, which replaces virtuous with a saline liquid. In general, this won’t be necessary for floaters and should only be undertaken with a very strong doctor’s recommendation.
You can get rid of floaters by moving your eye by looking up and down to clear vision.
Do you have eye floaters? Have you ever experienced some of the problems associated with eye health and aging? Share your stories and experiences in the comments to help someone else going through a similar circumstance!
Whether you’re starting your journey in better vision, or have been wearing glasses for a long time, you may be wondering what options exist for vision correction, and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
- Should you stick with glasses, which are easy to take care of, but bulky on your face?
- Or contacts that don’t obstruct vision, but can be prone to infection?
- Many people are now opting for LASIK surgery, but is it worth the large upfront cost?
All the questions will be answered with additional considerations.LASIK
LASIK surgery is a corrective procedure that makes it so the person receiving it doesn’t have to wear corrective lenses of any kind – their vision is fixed indefinitely.
LASIK is continuously improved to the point where there’s little risk. In the past, some people’s vision would change over time which would require a second Lasik operation, but that’s all but been eradicated with modern improvements.
The great thing about Lasik is that it’s a procedure that provides a permanent fix to a problem (vision correction) that otherwise needs contact attention. It gets rid of a need for glasses or contact lenses, so you can see straight out of the eyes you were born with.
The price is hefty, averaging about $2,100 per eye, but actually costs less than the typical person’s lifetime contact lens use. It’s a great option for someone who understands that a large upfront investment means cost savings over time, even if they are not realized immediately. It’s also a customizeable procedure depending on what types of eye issues you may have – more than contacts or glasses.
To get LASIK surgery, you must be 18 years of age or older, which means it’s not necessarily an option for anyone 18 years of age or older. The benefit is that they can try glasses and contacts and see if that’s something they can live with.
Negative side affects tend to occur right after surgery, or not at all. Problems may include dry eyes and visual disturbances a few months after surgery. Obviously, any surgery that isn’t necessary to sustain life is a complication to be taken into consideration.
Lasik is considered to be more convenient than contacts, as there is no upkeep after the surgery is over and recovery has occured.Glasses
Glasses are great for people who don’t want the fuss that comes with contact lenses or Lasik surgery.
They’re easy to use – just take them on or off. The cost is low to maintain them as long as you don’t lose or break them. Furthermore, cleaning them or getting them adjusted isn’t a difficult or long process.
The major positive or negative feature of glasses (depending on your personal preferences) is how they make you look. The presence or lack of glasses can hugely change a person’s appearance.
Someone who likes their glasses may see them as an additional way to express their personality, much like a fashionista who wears a certain style. It can be fun to pick different frames and match them to different situations.
On a slightly more negative tone, glasses are a weight on your face that can be annoying. You’re constantly aware of the frame, which can be an obstruction to your vision. They can also fog up from temperature changes, which obviously hurts vision
However, a football player is all but unable to wear glasses while participating in sports. They’re not made for contact and can easily break in sporty situations.
An advantage of wearing glasses over contacts is that it’s a significantly reduced risk of infection, since you don’t need to touch your eyes to wear them. They have also been shown to correct for astigmatism.Contacts
Contacts seem to be for people with opposite needs and wants than glasses.
Where glasses change your appearance in a big way, contact lenses can in a small way, change your appearance. Ever see someone with a particular striking eye color? It might be the result of colored contacts.
Like Lasik and unlike glasses, contacts don’t obstruct peripheral vision, as the lenses sit directly on eyes.
Like glasses, you can pay the cost of them overtime, instead of in a large upfront payment with Lasik surgery.
The biggest potential problem with contacts is that you could develop an eye infection, by constantly touching your eye. In fact, of all the aforementioned vision correction options, contacts require the most care over time to prevent problems from happening. Leaving contacts in overnight or for an extended period of time can cause eye problems.
Contact lenses trade a type of convenience and particular look in exchange for slowly losing vision over time. Contact lens users tend to need to adjust their prescription on a yearly basis. However, unlike Lasik, you can see the result of better vision immediately.
Do you wear glasses, contact lenses, or have you gotten LASIK surgery? What made you do what you did? Are you considering a change? Let’s discuss in the comments!
Most people have heard of Glaucoma, but most don’t necessarily understand what it is and how you can tell if you might be at-risk. While the most common form of glaucoma has no symptoms besides slow loss of eyesight, others can cause acute pain and require emergency treatment.
Let’s discuss what exactly Glaucoma is, what causes it, symptoms to look for, and treatment options. Arm yourself with knowledge so that if you find out you have it, you can lessen your suffering and act quickly.What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a medical condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, which causes a gradual loss of eyesight. The increased pressure is caused when a nerve ending connecting eye to brain is damaged.
The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle which often shows no symptoms besides gradual loss of eyesight. A more rare and emergent cause of glaucoma is angle-closure glaucoma.
Glaucoma can affect people at any age, but is most common amongst people 41-60+. Although you should see an eye professional on a yearly basis for changing prescriptions, it’s also necessary to see your medical eye professional for eye disease screening – especially if you’re in this age range.
Glaucoma unfortunately cannot be cured, though treatment may help. Proper diagnosis of glaucoma requires a medical diagnosis, like lab testing or imaging.
New cases of glaucoma are diagnosed for 200,000 to 3 million people each year.What Causes Glaucoma?
There are a couple varied instances that can cause glaucoma.
First is the failure of the eye to maintain a proper balance between amount of internal eye fluid produced and the amount that drains away.
Basically, the eye needs the internal fluid to maintain proper pressure to retain it’s globe-like shape and to retain the ability to see.
When eye pressure rises to dangerously high levels, glaucoma tends to be the result.
A few other potential causes for glaucoma include poor blood flow and optic nerve damage. It’s been found that genetic factors can play a major role, so it’s important to share medical history with your eye health professional.Glaucoma Symptoms
How can you tell if you have glaucoma?
Usually, you can’t.
Most people show no symptoms. Some start to realize that they’re slowly losing their vision. It’s hard to tell without proper testing from your eye health professional.
Symptoms for more dangerous cases of glaucoma include blurred vision, distorted vision or vision loss.
A rare version of glaucoma, called angle-closure glaucoma, is considered to be a medical emergency. It can be identified by eye pain with nausea and sudden visual disturbances. Signs of these symptoms should result in an immediate trip to the emergency room for proper testing and treatment.
Who should you see?
There are two types of medical professionals that should be consulted for identification and treatment of glaucoma:
- Optometrist – A medical professional who diagnoses and treats vision changes.
- Ophthalmologist – A medical professional who specializes in eye diseases.
These medical professionals will call for testing that includes looking for the presence of high internal eye pressure. They may also directly examine the optic nerve. Visual field testing is another possibility.Treatment
First off, don’t try and treat glaucoma without a medical professional. They’ll be able to prescribe one of the following drugs typically used to treat glaucoma:
Most of these drugs go straight into the eye, via eyedrops. The remaining types of medication are ingested orally.
Besides eyedrops and medication, another option is surgery. Different procedures may include eye surgery, trabeculoplasty, or laser surgery depending on the situation or advanced nature of your glaucoma.
Glaucoma sounds like a scary condition and can be hard to deal with initially, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent glitch in your eyesight.
Obviously, there are plenty of treatments to improve your outlook. It’s also important to consider the benefits of preventative care – seeing an eye health professional before an issue becomes a real problem and getting regular screenings. Take care of your eyesight now so you don’t have major problems to fix down the line!
Do you have glaucoma or know someone with it? What have you or they done to treat it?
Most people associate joint pain and inflammation with arthritis, so it’s almost surprising how many different ways that different types of arthritis can affect your eyes. The outlook isn’t good if you don’t learn to recognize the warnings signs or get your eyes checked on a regular basis. So here’s a guide for different problems to be cognizant of, and what to do about them.
Inflammatory arthritis can cause a lot of troublesome risks to specific parts of the eye, including infections and vision changes.Forms of Inflammatory Arthritis
Different forms of inflammatory arthritis can cause different eye issues. Be careful if you have one of the following:
- Reactive arthritis, which stems from a bodily infection
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Arthritis of the spine
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can happen at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the body to attack it’s own tissues – the body is tricked into thinking they’re bad.
Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a whole host of eye issues. One of the most well-known is keratitis sicca, also known as “dry eye syndrome.” This condition includes any that decrease moisture in the eyes. If you’re a female, be extra careful – you’re nine times more likely than men to suffer from some form of dry eye syndrome.
Since the tear glands are responsible for protecting the eyes, dry eye syndrome can increase risk for injury and infection. Another autoimmune disease that depletes tear production is called Sjogren’s syndrome.
Scleritis is another condition to be aware of, which affects the white part of the eye. The sclera is connective tissue that forms the outer wall of the eye. Thus, scleritis is when the connective tissue is inflamed. You may have scleritis if you’re experiencing eye pain and vision changes. Rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk for developing this condition, but treating arthritis decreases your chances of eye problems.
Another possible byproduct of arthritis is cataracts. Cataracts cause cloudiness in vision, difficulty seeing colors, or poor night vision. Cataracts tend to be more common with old age, but can really occur at any time.
The best treatment for cataracts is a surgical procedure in which the natural lenses of the eyes are replaced with artificial lenses.
A specific type of arthritis tends to come from a reaction to conjunctivitis (also known as “pink eye”). Conjunctivitis causes inflammation of the lining of eyelids and eye whites.
Half of all reactive arthritis patients will develop pink eye. The good news is that it’s treatable. The bad news is that it’s likely to come back. It’s also extremely communicable and can keep you from being around people for a day or so, so treat it quickly and completely!Glaucoma
The inflammatory forms of arthritis are likely to cause glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye condition that results in damage to the optic nerves. Arthritis is responsible for increasing the pressure of eye fluid, which nerve damage.
The early stages of glaucoma may not show symptoms, so it’s important to get frequent eye checks to catch it before it becomes more advanced and problematic. Glaucoma can cause blurry vision and pain.
The worst possible side affect of arthritis to the eyes is the potential for complete vision loss. A condition known as uveitis can cause redness, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Untreated, it can become much worse.
Diabetes is another concern to be aware of. Arthritis doesn’t necessarily cause diabetes, but diabetes can go hand-in-hand with particular joint conditions. Diabetes definitely contributes to eye problems, and diabetes alone increase your risk for glaucoma and cataracts.A Few Final Thoughts:
- See your eye health care professional at least once a year, and much more often if you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, especially if you have arthritis or diabetes
- Get tested regularly for eye conditions like glaucoma
- Treat your arthritis as completely as possible. Treating your arthritis will make it easier to treat or prevent possible eye health problems.
- Try a supplement like Norflo or Ialutec RED, which improve eye health when used regularly. Both focus on different sides of the complete eye health picture. Norflo is formulated to help with dry eye syndrome, age-related macular degeneration and central serous chorioretinopathy. Ialutec RED is formulated to help with skin aging and other joint issues related to arthritis, which contribute to eye health.
Do you or someone you know have arthritis? What are they doing to protect their eye health? Share in the comments to help others stay healthy!