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What causes floaters in eyes?

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 5709 Questions
For the last three-four years, every time I stare at a very bright single-color surface -- mostly the sky -- I see something along the lines of the following ( WWW.WWWW.WW . It's a distressing visual disturbance that I pretty much experience 24/7 and no doctor has ever been able to explain it because I could not illustrate it for them sufficiently. Now with this image, I hope it will become clearer. Note: I do not have headaches while seeing this disturbance, nor do headaches follow it.
Posted Thu, 13 Feb 2014 in Vision and Eye Disorders
Answered by Dr. Dadapeer K 1 hour later
Brief Answer: These symptoms indicate floaters. Detailed Answer: Hello Welcome to Health care Magic Iam Dr. Dadapeer K, an Ophthalmologist and I answer health problems related to eye. I reviewed the history, for the last 3-4 years you are having symptoms of seeing lines every time you stare at bright clear source of light like sky. This is typical of a condition seen commonly in clinical practice called as floaters. Floaters are commonly seen in middle aged and in elderly individuals but they are seen sometimes in younger individuals also. Floaters are because of changes in the vitreous a fluid gel present in the posterior segment of the eye behind the lens. This vitreous is in gel form and as the age advances and sometimes without any specific reason also the vitreous starts to become liquid and in the course some part condenses and forms clumps, which cast their shadows on the retina and they are seen as floaters. Hence the person sees zig zag lines of cob web appearance in the vision and they become very prominent when a person is looking at a bright surface like sky. Most of the times the condition is unharmful and no treatment is required. However a examination is required for confirmation of diagnosis. Floaters when associated with symptoms like flashes of light is a high risk sign as it may indicate retinal tear. If the floaters are really visually disturbing then treatment in the form of lasers to disrupt the clumps of the vitreous is available, but not followed by all the results are not satisfactory. Hence I first advice you to consult ophthalmologist preferably retinal specialist to look for floaters in the vitreous and advice accordingly. Most of the times floaters are small hence they can be missed on examination, however the shadows from they can be big making the patient to see them clearly. This may be the reason for missing the floaters on examination by doctors. Hence this may require repeated examination to find out the floaters. As you have mentioned that you do not have headache associated with floaters, this rules out migraine as similar prodromal symptoms are present in migraine. Hope I have answered your query and the information is helpful to you. Thank you
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Follow-up: What causes floaters in eyes? 8 hours later
Unfortunately, I know that this is not an eye floater for several reasons. One is I see my eye-floater at the same time that I see this. My eye-floater is a small zig-zag line that crosses my field of vision and that disappears when I just re-adjust my eyesight. The other is that this image that I see FOLLOWS my line of visions where-ever it moves... it doesn't cross my vision like a floater would. Also, what I see moves and changes within itself (it doesn't merely flash or scurry about my field of vision like an eye-floater). It has a distinctive movement to it -- like something going down a drain (as shown in the moving image link: WWW.WWWW.WW . Individuals who have experienced similar-such objects in their field of vision have reported to me of something called "visual snow." It seems Unfortunately, the medical community knows very little (or nothing) about this. But along with it, I see static in my vision as well as mild-to-moderate palinopsia. So it all seems to check out. Who would I go to that would possibly know something about this? A neuro-ophthalmologist?
Answered by Dr. Dadapeer K 54 minutes later
Brief Answer: Neurological diseases rarely can cause this. Detailed Answer: Hello Thank you for the follow up query. Yes you are absolutely right there is little literature or information regrading the visual symptoms like floaters, visual snowing, after images or palinopsia... For most of these symptoms definitive treatment options are also not available. Coming to your questions, Visual snow- It is characterized by the presence of visual disturbances like zig zag lines but usually they won't disappear and they persist continuously. They can be felt even after closing the eyes. But since you have mentioned that the visual disturbances disappear on adjusting eye sight, hence this requires reconfirmation. Since you have also stated that you are experiencing palinopsia or after images, this indicates the persistence of the image even after the image is removed or moved out of the visual field. Most of the times no specific cause is found out but few causes proposed are Different types of migraine, lesions of the optic nerve like optic neuritis, visual pathway lesions, epilepsy and other seizure diseases, drugs related.... The treatment options as I mentioned are also limited and are in the form of using drugs like valproate, benzodiazepenes..... Hence I advice you to consult a neurologist for evaluation to rule out some of the conditions which can rarely cause these visual symptoms and treatment accordingly. Hope I have answered your question. Thank you
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