Health

Understanding Floaters, Those ‘Worm-like Shapes in Our Eyes

3 Mins read

Do you experience seeing flashes and weird shapes in front of your eyes? Do you sometimes see ‘worm-like shapes ‘and lines moving around? Do you know what these could be?

It was a lovely afternoon and I had my camera. A friend and I were having a lazy stroll along the shore and the sky was so beautiful. It was a marvelous shade of blue that I just had to capture on my cam. While trying to catch some greatly-shaped clouds, I suddenly saw a shower of semi-transparent lines and shapes that seemed to move, or dance, or jump; whatever.

It caught me by surprise and had me worried for some time. I blinked my eyes many times to check if I had something on them and looked around again. Then, they’re gone. Those jumping, moving images stayed in my memory though.

I have never had any cause for alarm regarding my sight before. However, aging necessitated wearing of reading glasses when the need arises. But what took place with my vision recently made me visit my eye doctor friend  immediately. And these are what she said to me:

What I saw

The lines and shapes I saw are called “floaters.” Some can take the form of tiny spots, flecks, specks, cobwebs or randomly-shaped stringy objects, and they may seem to be drifting or floating. We won’t see them as fixed objects because they are not objects outside our eyes.

Some people see only one image; others see more like I did. They become more visible when we are looking at a bright spectacle like a blue or white sky, or anything white and light colored like the computer monitor or a white wall. These floaters move as our eyes move and the more we focus on looking at them in detail, the more they dart away.

My doctor friend said that ordinary eye floaters and spots shouldn’t cause us sleepless nights and worries because although they are quite annoying, they are actually very common and are usually no cause to be alarmed. They typically appear when very small pieces of the eye’s gel-like vitreous, a part of the eye, break loose within the inner back portion of the eye.

In our younger years, the vitreous have that gel-like consistency, but when we start to age, the vitreous starts to dissolve and then become more liquid in form; hence, creating a watery center inside our eyes. The undissolved gel particles then floats around in the more liquid center, taking on different shapes and sizes; hence, became to be called as floaters.

The shadows from these floaters are then cast on the retina as light passes through our eye and those shadows are the very ‘floaters’ that we see.

What’s important about floaters

Generally, eye floaters are not bothersome and dangerous. They are just irritating and annoying for a few seconds or so; but they usually fade over time.

However, should you experience these eye floaters of any size or shape frequently and sometimes accompanied by light flashes, may we advise you to go and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Why?

It is because the sudden significant number of ‘floaters’, accompanied by flashes of light or other vision disturbances, could be indicators of a retina tear or a detached retina or some other serious problem in the eye, which is a an emergency in itself.

Although there is an eye drop in the market to treat floaters, not all doctors are willing to prescribe it to their patients owing to the varying degrees of effectiveness in the past. Some patients require a surgical procedure called vitrectomy to remove floaters, but it is advised ONLY when vision of the patient is seriously hampered.

The procedure involves “clearing” of the vitreous and its specks and webs by entirely removing the gel-like substance from the eye and then the vitreous is replaced with a different saline liquid.

For visuals, go visit Alila Medical Media on their YouTube channel which shares very interesting information. You’e sure to appreciation their animation, too. I did!
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Now… if you feel there are REAL live worms lurking in your eyes and they have become painful, bothersome and causing physical changes to your eyes and not just your vision, run to the hospital right now.

Real worms in eyes are no urban legend. Some have reportedly caught some eggs of botflies and blowflies in their eyes! Go Google it.

Disclaimer: This article does not offer a diagnosis or advice regarding treatment. Information presented in this article is for educational purposes ONLY, and information presented here is not to be used as an alternative to a healthcare professional’s diagnosis and treatment of any person.

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