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Ask Dr. Rick Your Own Question

Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7854
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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How do you get rid of floaters

Customer Question

How do you get rid of floaters?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

You are likely experiencing a PVD or posterior vitreous detachment, a common event that happens in many people.

You have a thick gel material in the middle of your eyes called the vitreous. Over time as it liquefies, this gel material collapses on itself, forms little clumps that you can see as dots, lines or bugs. As these clumps form the vitreous pulls away from the wall of the eye. In the process it can stimulate the retina -- causing the flashes that you may see.

It is recommended that you see your ophthalmologist to look at the retina to make sure there are no problems such as a retinal hole or tear. In most cases, there are no problems, but this exam is precautionary and allows for preventative treatment of any lesions that are found.

If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light (like a lightning storm), or a shadow/veil in the periphery of your vision, this can be worrisome for a retinal detachment. You would need to contact your ophthalmologist promptly in that case.


 

Dr. Rick :

To answer your question directly:

Dr. Rick :

What can you do about them? Well, floaters don't go away, and they don't really get worse. Over time they tend to "sink" out of your central vision and you brain "filters" them out so you don't notice them so much anymore. They almost never cause significant visual problems except, of course, if they cause a secondary retinal detachment as discussed above. The only way to decrease or remove the floaters is with a major surgery called a vitrectomy. As a retinal specialist for almost 2 decades I've only done this procedure to remove floaters in a handful of cases.


 

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick :

And, now, the obligatory word from our sponsors: :o)


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Dr. Rick :

Hi. Welcome to chat.

Customer:

hi

Customer:

im only 21

Customer:

i don't know why I have these

Customer:

but they zing really fast around my eyes

Dr. Rick :

That's OK., these things happen. I've had mine since I was in my mid 20's. Do you wear glasses, and if so, are you nearsighted?

Customer:

yes i do wear glasses

Dr. Rick :

They can do that.....

Customer:

and im nearsighted

Dr. Rick :

do you know what your prescription is? Just ballpark....

Customer:

20/100 i think i just know its real bad

Customer:

i have to wear my glasses all the time

Dr. Rick :

I mean your glasses Rx, like minus 5 or etc?

Customer:

im not totally sure i know i should know this

Dr. Rick :

that is ok...doesn't really matter....it is just that people who are really nearsighted are at a higher risk of having floaters (PVD)....

Dr. Rick :

in any event, it is nothing to worry about and, like I said above, nothing that needs any treatment

Customer:

see i was just concerned because i been having headaches

Customer:

lately

Dr. Rick :

Your brain will sorta filter them out with time

Customer:

and i thought they might be related

Customer:

im at school now so i saw my md here and he looked in my eyes

Dr. Rick :

most likely not related

Customer:

he said my retina

Customer:

was fine

Dr. Rick :

A regular MD wouldn't be able to see a PVD etc with his direct ophthalmoscope. I don't do heart attacks and general doctors shouldn't do retina/eyes

Dr. Rick :

That is good, but he wouldn't know a retinal detachment if it reached up and bit him.....

Customer:

true

Customer:

haha

Customer:

well i dont have an eye doctor here

Customer:

or i would

Dr. Rick :

But your risk of a detachment is not that high. In the next few weeks or so you should have an ophthalmologist have a look at you to make sure your retina is (really) OK.

Dr. Rick :

Then a GP is better then nothing, eh?

Dr. Rick :

:)

Customer:

i have an optometrist that does my eyes

Customer:

can i see her

Dr. Rick :

sure. That should be good enough. If she sees anything strange she can refer you on...

Dr. Rick :

Does that make sense to you?

Customer:

okay. Last time I went she looked in my eyes with the microscope

Customer:

and she said i had pressure

Customer:

so she sent me to get an MRI

Dr. Rick :

that is called a slit lamp.

Customer:

it was negative

Customer:

yea

Dr. Rick :

She thought you had optic nerve swelling?

Customer:

correct

Customer:

that was two years ago

Dr. Rick :

I think you better go see an ophthalmologist....this optometrist seems to be trying to diagnose things beyond her training.....

Customer:

yeah

Customer:

well i had headaches

Customer:

so she is like you could have a tumor

Customer:

so she made me go

Dr. Rick :

increased intracranial pressure is not for an optometrist to try and order MRIs on....she should instantly send you on to a MD

Customer:

yeah

Customer:

im nervous she will be like you need a test again

Customer:

haha

Dr. Rick :

she is trying to be an ophthalmologist without having to go through the hassel of medical school and 4 years of subspeciality training (at the minimum) These type of optometrists are, in my opinion, very, very dangerous.

Dr. Rick :

Ya, maybe she will want to do a vitrectomy with a gas/fluid exchange and a touch of endolaser on you hahahaha!

Customer:

haha yeah

Customer:

well she had me nervous

Customer:

it sucked

Dr. Rick :

So. First. Stay away from that optometrist.

Dr. Rick :

Second. Don't worry about your floater.

Dr. Rick :

Third. Try to get into see an ophthalmologist (just to be on the safe side) in the next few weeks if at all possible.

Dr. Rick :

Sound like a plan?

Customer:

yeah sounds good

Customer:

I do have one more question.

Dr. Rick :

Ok then. Have a good day...and with 22 accepts, you already know what the pretty green button is for ;o)

Dr. Rick :

ok...shoot.

Customer:

worse case scanario if you did have something like a brain tumor one day. Would an opthalmologist be able to tell that by looking in your eyes or even an optometrist. Would there usually be pressure behind the eye

Dr. Rick :

Not an optometrist. And an ophthalmologist could if it caused the pressure inside you skull to show up....we can see that in the eye. But you are 21 and male. The most likely way you will die is in a fast moving vehicle of some type or at the hands of some angry woman...

Customer:

hahaha

Customer:

so true

Customer:

women drivers

Dr. Rick :

:)

Customer:

thanks doctor for all your help.

Dr. Rick :

Ok then, have a good evening and try not to worry, k?

Dr. Rick :

my pleasure. Take care. bye

Customer:

I won't and ps. thanks for the humor.

Dr. Rick :

:)

Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7854
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Dr. Rick and 2 other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like to discuss pertaining to this issue.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi, my floaters are increasing more again what a pain lol. Also I thought about getting lasik will that get rid of some of my floaters as well.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Lasik will have no effect on your floaters. Also, I would suggest waiting until your floaters are stable and your ophthalmologist tells you that your vitreous has safely detached from your retina before going ahead with lasik surgery....just to be on the safe side.

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