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Floaters in the eye

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I have an eye question. I am 36 years old, great health, 2 children of 1 and 3 years old but have noticed a change in my vision (just had a full physical - all was good). Randomly, around 8pm at night, I've noticed that in only certain light, I sometimes see a prism like flicker in my right eye. I can change light and it's gone, but it has only happens randomly and in certain types of light and at this time of night. I've had a few auras that lasted around 20 minutes during or after pregnancy and after I stopped nursing, but docs say it were hormonal. This is different - no headaches and only in certain light and at this time of night. I have also noticed that I've had more floaters recently which one doc said this might have something to do with it as well as rubbing my eyes from the pollen. Any ideas?

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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.

Hello, With reference to your question, floaters in the eye are nothing but deposits or condensation in the vitreous jelly of the eye. It may present in one eye or both eyes. People see floating spots within their vision when they look around. They are usually benign, whereas spots in front of the eyes are the debris from the vitreous causing a shadow on the retina. They may be more noticeable under certain lighting conditions. They appear as spots, straight, curved lines, strings 'O' or 'C' shaped blobs. They always appear darker than the background and cannot be seen in darkness or with the eyes closed. The vitreous becomes thicker and denser with age resulting in eye floaters. The vitreous begins to shrink within the space that it occupies. Hemorrhage and inflammation are common types of cellular material causing eye floaters. Any cellular material within the vitreous may cause eye floaters. They are extremely common in adults. They are associated with diabetes, retinopathy, retinal tears and detachment and large degrees of near sightedness. They occur commonly in people who had injury to the eye, after cataract surgery, TB's, Sarcoidosis, syphilis and toxoplasmosis, lymphoma and leukemia (rare). Myopia is a risk factor. Eye floaters can be annoying but not dangerous. A sudden onset of many eye floaters or the onset of eye floaters associated with flashing lights could signify a retinal tear that requires treatment to prevent detachment. Usually the ophthalmologist examines with ophthalmoscope. Most eye floaters decrease in size and darkness with time. Relaxation techniques may hasten the adaptation. Treatment is by vistrectomy. Anyway, it is better you see the ophthalmogist for a detail examination and ask his opinion for further management.Thank you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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