There does not appear to be a link between dry eyes and floaters. Floaters can occur due to normal changes in the eye that happen as a person ages. Dry eyes can occur due to poor quality of tears or lack of tear production.
Floaters are dark shapes that appear in a persons line of vision. Floaters may appear as spots, threads, uneven lines, or look like cobwebs.
Floaters are usually harmless, and most people may notice floaters that come and go.
Dry eyes are also common, and can cause irritation, redness, and may affect vision. Dry eyes can happen if the eyes do not produce enough, or retain enough, tears. People may be able to treat dry eyes with artificial tears.
In this article, we look in further detail at causes of dry eyes and floaters, symptoms, treatment, and when to see a doctor.
There does not appear to be a connection between dry eyes and floaters.
Floaters happen due to normal changes in the eye that occur as people age.
A gel-like substance called the vitreous fills the middle of the eye. As people age, strands of the vitreous can form clumps or thicker strands. These strands cause shadows on the retina, which is the light-sensitive part of the eye. The shadows appear as floaters.
Dry eyes can happen due to poor quality of tears or lack of tear production.
According to the American Optometric Association and the National Eye Institute, dry eyes and floaters share some of the same risk factors. These include older age and medical conditions such as diabetes.
The following are causes of dry eye and floaters.
People may experience dry eyes due to:
Tears consist of three layers: mucus, water, and oil. They help to keep an even layer of tears across the eye, add lubrication and protection, and prevent evaporation of tears.
If there is a problem with any one of these layers, tears may evaporate too quickly or not cover the eye properly, leading to dry eyes.
Tear glands around the eyelids produce tears. Certain factors can reduce the amount of tears the glands produce, such as:
Other factors that can cause dry eyes include:
Floaters occur when strands of the vitreous clump together, causing shadows to appear on the retina.
This can happen naturally as a person ages.
Sometimes eye conditions can also cause floaters, including:
A retinal tear or retinal detachment is a medical emergency, and people will need medical attention straight away.
Other risk factors for developing floaters include:
Symptoms of dry eyes include:
Symptoms of floaters include:
Treatment for dry eyes focuses on increasing tear production, keeping tears in the eyes for longer, or reducing any inflammation of the eyes.
Treatment for dry eyes depends on the severity of dryness, but may include:
If people develop floaters as they age, they do not require any treatment unless the floaters are interfering with everyday life or affecting their vision.
If people do want treatment for floaters, vitrectomy is a surgical procedure that removes floaters. During a vitrectomy, a doctor will make a tiny opening in the wall of the eye to remove a large amount of the vitreous using a suction tool.
People can speak with an eye doctor about the benefits and risks of having a vitrectomy to treat floaters.
If an underlying condition is causing floaters, treating the condition may resolve them.
Floaters are usually harmless, but people should talk with an eye doctor about any new floaters or changes to existing floaters.
If people have the following symptoms, they will need to seek medical attention straight away:
These could be signs of retinal detachment, and people will need immediate treatment.
A person should contact an eye doctor if they begin to experience dry eyes. If it is severe, it can cause damage to the cornea.
Dry eyes and floaters are both usually harmless eye conditions. Some people may experience both together.
Dry eyes can happen due to poor quality of tears or a lack of tear production. People may be able to treat mild cases of dry eyes with over-the-counter artificial tears.
For more severe cases, people may need prescription eye drops or to block the tear ducts. In-office procedures such as thermal pulsation or intense pulsed light can help unblock the meibomian glands.
Floaters can happen as people age and the eye changes. Floaters are dark shapes that shift across a persons vision. They do not usually need treatment, but if they are affecting everyday life, people may want surgery to remove them.
If an underlying condition is causing dry eyes or floaters, treating the condition may help resolve eye symptoms.
If people have any new floaters, they will need to speak with an eye doctor. If people have any sudden changes, flashes of light, or dark shadows over their eyes, they will need to seek immediate medical help.
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Dry eyes and floaters: Causes, treatment, and seeking help - Medical News Today
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