The first time you experience eye floaters can be scary. Suddenly, you start seeing dots, lines and cobwebs in your field of vision, and these shapes seems to dart around as soon as you move your eyes. You may have just a single floater or hundreds of them, and they may be semi-transparent, grey or dark brown/black in color. The first question that many people ask as soon as they experience this phenomenon is, are eye floaters dangerous?
In most cases no. Eye floaters often occur as a result of age-related changes that occur in the vitreous humor (the jelly-like substance in the eye). This substance is 98% water and 2% protein, the latter being normally dissolved in the water. However, this protein can get damaged or it can aggregate together, causing floaters to appear. What you see is actually the shadow of these particles. In addition, sometimes the vitreous humor detaches itself from the posterior part of the eye, and this has an effect of altering the shape and consistency of the vitreous humor; again, this causes eye floaters. In both these cases, eye floaters are not dangerous and indeed most health professionals will recommend that you simply ignore them, unless they suddenly get worse. With time, the brain can adapt to them, and you will start noticing them less.
However, there are some cases where eye floaters are actually a symptom of a much more serious medical condition. For example, eye floaters may develop when there is a retinal tear, and this will require urgent medical treatment. Similarly, eye floaters may be blood cells in the vitreous humor, which may result from a burst blood vessel. Indications that your eye floaters may be caused by a serious problem can be if you see random flashes of light, if your field of vision is narrowing, or if you see a shower of eye floaters. However, only a doctor can correctly diagnose the cause of eye floaters, and that’s why it is extremely important to seek medical advice.
If there is no serious condition causing your eye floaters, your doctor may tell you to simply ignore them, as sometimes the brain adapts to them and you start noticing them less and less. They can be removed via a surgical procedure, but this is not usually recommended as it carries a high risk of complications, such as retinal tears, cataracts and infections. It is much better to treat eye floaters holistically, by including specific nutrients in your diet, changing the position you sleep in, taking a number of herbal supplements etc…