Are you seeing spots and squiggly lines in front of your vision? You may be suffering from a common vision problem: eye floaters. What are they and what can you do about them?
What Are They?
Eye floaters are shapeless specks or strings that float in your view but disappear quickly when you try to look at them directly. They occur when the jelly-like substance, called vitreous, inside your eye changes density and becomes more liquid. As it does, it can clump together to form these annoying visual obstacles.
What Causes Them?
Floaters are common as you age, but may be caused by a serious eye problem such as a torn retina, inflammatory diseases or infections. The first step in treating them is to rule out these serious concerns with your eye doctor.
What Can You Do?
If your vision is being affected significantly, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. In a vitrectomy, the vitreous is removed through a small incision and replaced by an artificial solution. However, there are some risks to a vitrectomy, including bleeding and retinal tears.
If you want to try to treat your floaters without surgery, there are some home remedies that may work for you.
- Eliminate Yeast. A naturally-occurring yeast in the body called candida may grow too numerous under certain conditions and be the cause of your floaters. Eliminating yeast and sugars from your diet for a few weeks may correct this imbalance and reduce floaters stemming from it.
- Antioxidants. Free radicals damage cells in a process called oxidation and cause changes in skin and eyes. Some antioxidants that fight this damage in eyes include lutein and zeaxanthin. Astaxanthin, in particularly, has gained some popularity for preventing age-related eye deterioration.
- Flavonoids. Flavonoid compounds occur in many different plant foods, ranging from vegetables to chocolate. Their health benefits also include a wide variety, such as potential benefit to the eye. Bilberry is of particular interest because it may improve circulation in the blood vessels of the eye and improve signs of retinal damage.
- Ginkgo Biloba. Like bilberry, ginkgo biloba's effect on floaters may come from the fact that it's a cerebrovascular dilator, increasing the blood flow to the head and eyes. It has few if any side effects, so can be used without too much concern.
- Omega-3. Omega-3s play a vital role in eye health and is generally a good way to support eye health, including that of the retina where floaters appear. You can get Omega-3s from cold water fish and fish oil, nuts, and Omega-3-fortified prepared foods.
It's vital to protect your vision, especially as you age. Be sure to work with your optometrist, one like Cripe Stephens & Stickel, to make sure your eye floaters are not a sign of any serious problems and to find a treatment that works best in your case.