Understanding Floaters: And When to Call a Doctor

Understanding Floaters: And When to Call a Doctor

Many seniors report having a little dot or fly that seems to have appeared in their field of vision. This is called a floater and is a normal finding. While most people will be educated about floaters at an optometrist’s office during an annual exam, seniors with memory problems may not recall what’s happening and, therefore, may find themselves frustrated to see something “new” in their vision. Here’s what you need to know about floaters:

They are Normal: Floaters occur in the vitreous, which is a jelly-like structure located inside the eye. With age, the vitreous becomes more liquid than jelly, which causes the vitreous particles to float into the field of vision- thus the name floaters. While floaters most often occur with age, they can also be triggered by head trauma and ocular surgery.

They Are Mostly Harmless: Besides being annoying, floaters are usually harmless and do not affect vision. A quick reminder from you can help save your loved-one plenty of confusion.

When to Seek Help: While floaters are typically nothing to worry about, there are cases where you’ll want to seek help:

  1. A Shower of Floaters Accompanied by Flashes of Light: This is typically described as a whole bunch of floaters appearing suddenly accompanied by random flashes of light. This signifies a potential retinal detachment and the individual should be examined as soon as possible.
  2. Noticeable Changes in Vision: If your loved one reports a drastic change in vision, even with their current glasses, calling an optometrist or ophthalmologist promptly is key.
  3. Ocular Pain and Redness: Ocular pain and redness are a sign of a different condition and are not a normal part of having floaters so your loved one should be examined by a professional right away.

While COVID-19 continues to be a threat, maintaining your loved one’s healthcare needs continues to be important. With Sutton In-Home Care, we are here to help. Call us today for more information.

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