View Full Version : EYES--floaters--age---blindness

20-Sep-2011, 20:01
getting on in years--my left eye--the focus eye that I use has always had this large floater right in the middle of my field of vision...seems to be darkening up over the years--everyone I talked to--eye doctors too--say that there ain't nothing to do but deal with it..it's particularly bothersome in low light....and I've always had ThOUSANDS of the things...even when I was a kid I remember seeing them when looking at a plain sky...bajillions of them floating around...when I was a kid in school I remember seeing this thing in my eye when looking in microscopes and such--it always looked like a hydra type cell IN my eye all the time floating around in there...now with time it's darker and bigger maybe. It cerainnly gets more attention and don't look the way I remember it. It used to be a clear outline that didn't obscure any vision...now it sometimes gets in the way and I have to dart my eye quickly to make it move away...then it moves back in again..

anyways--anybody heard of any non quack NON-medical ways to stop this thing from blinding me further? this has always been a concern but it is very noticable now with the computer screens at night--and in the daytime at work--it's like i can ALWAYS see it now with the white screens/close focus--the perfect background for this thing to show up.

or is this just something that everyone deals with quietly and I'm just a crybaby?

Rudy Jones
20-Sep-2011, 20:06
I have the exact, same thing. Left eye has a large, black floater.

My girlfriend suggested one cure - put my head in a centrifuge. I passed.

20-Sep-2011, 20:11
Go see a good ophthalmologist, post-haste.

20-Sep-2011, 20:19
like I said--the docs I've talked to don't have nothing solution wise thus far....and I do NOT want them poking around--they generally make things go from bad to worse--hell I know a guy that would still have his sight today if the docs didn't go a poking around to "fix" his problem--he used to be a photographer in the old days---now he can't even drive a limo anymore....just walks around the neighborhood with his cane now...usually drunk...sad.

perhaps head banging/centrifuge--but that will likely detach the retina

all things considered, I guess I'm lucky--a friend of mine DOES have a detached retina and I'm lucky I don't have two of them with all the crackups I've been in over the years....and the...BANG YOUR HEAD!!!! days...daze...

I suspected that others have the same problem...and was hoping for some kind of maybe coping mechanism---like eye exercises to make it stay to one side or something, at least temporarily---it's just that it's particularly troublesome because it''s the LEFT eye--the one I like to use for focus...it's like UNCOMFORTABLE to use my right eye for some reason...I can't explain it.

still lucky though I guess...all things considered...

Alan Gales
20-Sep-2011, 20:25
I'm very sorry to hear this. My Dad who is blind in one eye and legally blind in the other due to diabetes and old age sees a specialist who only works with the back of the eye. I don't know who you should see but I would want to see someone who is a specialist. It shouldn't be hard to find someone like this in Chicago. Like Aril said the sooner you get help may be the better!

Alan Gales
20-Sep-2011, 20:28
Sorry Ari. My eyes are not so good either and I didn't see the l that I accidently put in your name!

20-Sep-2011, 20:30
No problem, Allan! ;)

20-Sep-2011, 20:33
the docs said nothing to be done---it's not completely debilitating, merely a pain and bother right now....considering it's been there since i can remember...I don't think I'm going to be blinded by it..unless I live a VERY long time.

docs I don't trust---another dude I know was a victim of the laser lens shaving....he had to have it fixed...when I told him to deal with glasses and be happy, he scoffed...got the laser treatment and spent a good 2 years lamenting it..."you were right"...he did get it "repaired" but he's still sorry about the whole affair-

I'm not going to mess with what works...perfect I don't want to try for....hell--I don't want to have the visual equivalent of what michael jackson did to himself trying to be "perfect"....yikes

Alan Gales
20-Sep-2011, 21:08
No problem, Allan! ;)

:D I like your sense of humor!

Jim C.
20-Sep-2011, 21:17
I sympathize with your floater problem I have them too, and since I was a kid,
back then I always imagined I was seeing things from another dimension ;)

But seriously, Rudy's girlfriend is sort of on the right track, fast movement of the eye
may shift the floater to a less annoying spot, or rather than a centrifuge maybe
take a few amusement park rides, like whatever they call the one that you sit
in a cup and it spins you as it rotates. It'll cost a lot less than Dr. visit and more fun.

20-Sep-2011, 21:46
I have researched this in the past but I am not a doctor. I have never read about any treatment other than replacing the vitreous, but who would want to do that? I just ignore them. The more you think about it, the more they will bother you. The only time I ever really notice them anymore is when I am trying to focus with a grain magnifier under the enlarger believe it or not. And when you just reminded me of them.

Eric Woodbury
20-Sep-2011, 22:16
I have them. Always have. They come and go. If I get one in a bad spot I spin my eyes round and round and they move. That has always fixed it. Seems to spin them off to the side without the centrifuge.

Edwin Beckenbach
20-Sep-2011, 23:21
I've been tripping on my floaters for years. I have two kinds. One is stationary in the center of my field of view and worm like, but a closed loop. I've been led to believe that this is structurally related to the optic nerve connection in the back of the eye. Then there are the swimmers that squiggle all over the place after staring at a featureless surface like a clear sky for a minute or two. I've been told that those are actually white blood cells circulating through the capillaries in the retina. I don't know if any of that is true but I would certainly like to find out. The latter are transient and go away as soon as I look at something else but the former does become annoying from time to time during extended loupe focusing. When I see it 'll try to focus on it and then it disappears so I go back to what I was doing and it pops right back up and that goes on over and over again.

Steve Smith
20-Sep-2011, 23:59
I'm very sorry to hear this. My Dad who is blind in one eye and legally blind in the other

My father was similar. He was blind in his right eye due to a detached retina in his late teens and spent most of his life extremely short sighted in the left eye (didn't stop him working professionally as a photographer though).

A cataract operation which replaced the eye's lens with a plastic lens, all carried out through a tiny incision, gave him near perfect sight from arm's length to infinity. He spent months just walking about looking at things, not believing the difference.


21-Sep-2011, 00:11
I'm 27 and I have a small floater in my left eye about 4 years back till today. It does get annoying, but I've learnt to ignore it.

I try to rest my eyes more often now, and spend less time looking at computer screens. I'd rather look at the ground glass these days.

Louie Powell
21-Sep-2011, 04:01
Getting older isn't for sissies.

The material inside the eye is a gel called vitreous. There is a network of tiny thread-like structures running through the vitreous that attach to the retina at the back of the eye. As we get older, the viscous shrinks. This can put stress on the threads, and lead them to break. One of the symptoms of thread breakage is flashes of light. Also, as they tear away from the retina, they leave bits of debris in the viscous. Those bits of debris are the floaters. There is nothing that can be done about them, and we simply have to live with them. I'll say it again - getting older isn't for sissies.

The problem is that the stress on those threads caused by vitreous shrinkage can also tear away parts of the retina. That's a serious problem, and can lead to loss of vision. Vision loss due to retinal tearing can also occur due to trauma, or as a consequence of diabetes. There are surgical solutions that aren't a lot of fun, and that aren't always successful. I know this because it happened to me.

If you are experiencing floaters, you should see your ophthalmologist soon and regularly. It may be a nuisance, or it could be a precursor of a serious problem.

21-Sep-2011, 05:27
Floaters don't make you go blind. If you are "going blind" perhaps you have glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, cataracts, retinal detachment, astigmatism, occipital CVA, Cushing's Disease, or some other condition.

Frank Petronio
21-Sep-2011, 05:44

Take your Presser Vision eye vitamins and see an eye doctor. Talking about it won't hurt you.

The only thing that going online about it might help is so you can identify who a good eye doctor is in your area. Not that you should believe things online, but sometimes the trends, and number-quality of the referrals, teaching affiliations, status of their training are good starting points in your searching.

You can also interview potential doctors. Besides their personality, the big question is whether they take the philosophy of achieving maximum vision through interactive means (surgery) or if they rather treat aliments avoiding surgery but accepting some diminishment. That'd be what decides it for me. The correct answer would be that, "I would run you through ALL the options, with the positives and negatives and "what-ifs" on the table and openly discussed."

You always have a choice and a good doc is going to explain the risks and give you potential outcomes, worst case, best case, with numbers attached.

21-Sep-2011, 06:30
Please do keep us informed though.
I am a physician whose very good retinal surgeon says there is nothing to do that remotely justifies the risk.
Still I do wish...

21-Sep-2011, 06:32
Posts 18 (including the "getting older isn't for sissies") and 19 are exactly what my eye doctors have been telling me for years. The only other advise they've offered is to get used to them and stop reading on-line forums.

Jim Noel
21-Sep-2011, 06:37
I had floaters in both eyes for several years. About 10 years ago I had a capillary in the dominant left eye block for a short time in the retina. This resulted in a loss of the lower 40% of the field of vision. When I tried to do close work,like focus an enlarging magnifier, with the right eye,I saw what doctors said was the vessels at the rear of the left eye. The floaters continued to get worse. Earlier this year I had cataracts removed from both eyes and lenses implanted. The floaters are gone and the field of vision in the left eye is considerably larger than the last few years. The cataracts were blocking more of my vision than I or the doctors realized.

By all means, see an ophthalmologist. A thorough examination does not invade the eye in any way and you should learn what is really going on.

21-Sep-2011, 06:52
Are you sure it's a floater and not a retinal scar? Look at an Amsler Grid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsler_grid) to be sure. If you have any kind of distortion there on the grid it's probably not a floater. I have a retina scar on my left eye that distorts colors and shapes- it's pretty minor but annoying and always there. It just appeared one day in my late 20s and is now there forever. Doctors have no explanation why it's there.

21-Sep-2011, 08:44
OK, I'll throw in my eyeball experiences:

For at least the last 10 years, I've noticed that I can see better through my left eye than my right. During this time, I've seen four different ophthalmologists, all of them well qualified. None could give me an explanation, except to note a bit of dryness. After a routine exam some weeks ago (which turned up nothing unusual), I asked about a drusen (calcium deposit on the optic nerve), which had been diagnosed 20 years ago. (It gives me a tiny blind spot, which I never noticed; looking straight ahead, I can't see the tip of my nose with my right eye.) Sensing an opportunity to bill my insurance company for an extra test, I was seated in front of big Zeiss machine, which would take pictures of my optic nerve. The technician discovered she couldn't see the nerve in my right eye. Thinking there was a floater in the way, we went back to the chair for more bright light torture. Nope, no floater - I had a tiny cataract on the back side of my lens, very slightly off-center.

Obligatory photography reference: in low light, when my eyes were shooting 'wide open', the effect was minimal - the light hitting my retina was coming in from all parts of my lens. In a bright scene, however, my pupil closed down and more of the light flowed through the cataract. I had, in effect, one variable soft focus eyeball.

Take away: see more doctors, ask more questions.


21-Sep-2011, 09:16
Unfortunately floaters are a consequence of age - everyone seems to get them. I got my first floater when i was in my mid thirties. At first I thought it was a little mouse running damn fast and silently across the floor. The eye doctors told me that there was nothing you could do about them. "What about if I ate more spinach" I asked. "Nope," he said shaking his head.

Cataracts are also a natural consequence of aging I learned last month at my annual eye check-up. Everyone will develop them if they live long enough but usually die long before they develop to the extent that a medical procedure is needed.


Neal Chaves
21-Sep-2011, 09:33
Whatever you can do to improve eye health will help to reduce floaters. Take a good supplement like those from http://www.sciencebasedhealth.com

Try some of the exercises of the "Bates Method".
Keep your eyes moving. Don't stare at anything or off into the distance (thousand yard stare). The eyes drain to the back of the throat. Squeeze your eyes tight shut frequently and you will help to force floaters out and give the eye muscles a good stretch.

Tom Monego
21-Sep-2011, 17:39
Have worked as a photographer with ophthalmologists for 30+ years. Not much you can do with floaters the any surgery is too risky. If the floater has changed or gotten much worse or you see a shower of floaters then it is time to see the ophthalmologist again. I'm really near sighted and I'm glad I have the resources at work in case I need them. Vitamins can help the vascular health of eyes but not do much for floaters as they are just the agrigation of the vitreous as we age.


Jim Michael
21-Sep-2011, 17:49
Zinc and vitamin C are good for your eyes.

21-Sep-2011, 18:10
yeah...definitely going to look into the vitimins....and such--as well as not getting hit anymore--the best "cure" is prevention for sure.

I'm scheduling a regular eye trip..I'll check again what they see--I always get my eyes checked for problems/screening and I have brought up this issue before--only to be told that there is nothing that can be done that probably won't cause more problems.

just overly sensitive with these blasted computer screens---I don't really seem to notice that one floater that much unless it's bright computer screen in non-bright rooom in particular--and whit background.

I'm going to check that grid thing too--but I've asked about this in the past--I know there's nothing that can be done with what's there, but I can PREVENT any further damage for sure---eat right, exercise, prevent diabetes, check blood pressure---all of that.... and hope for the best.

yes...that ONE central floater is the one I got that is the bothersome one...I'll look into that too---just the way it was described sounds like what I got--maybe it IS the optic nerve..but why not the other eye? maybe not using the other eye so critically? I"m going to see if I can visualize it on the other eye...maybe it's there too but I don't see it because it's not my "critical eye".

yeah--getting old---it's for everybody---we have no choice...just how you take it I guess.

Maybe I will-JUST TO SEE WHAT HE SAYS--talk to an eye doc IF the optometrist agrees that it may be more than "just a floater".....

at least I'm not alone here and THAT helps a lot--if nobody had any similar experiences, then I'd be SCARED SCARED SCARED.

then again....the digital technology these days--- I saw how they hooked up a sensor to a dude's optic nerve and he was able to see for the first time EVER....unfortunately, if I get old enough to where the technology is workable, I'll probably not like what I look like by that time.

man---yeah--dart the eyes and it'll move out of the way--OR...MAYBE my optometrist can change the center of my prescription, so my eyes kind of are in a different position...that'll change the angle...I do notice that when I tilt my head and my eyes are at a different orientation that it kind of seems like it's elswehere....or maybe that's just wishful seeing....

John Schneider
21-Sep-2011, 22:50
...the docs...make things go from bad to worse--hell I know a guy that would still have his sight today if the docs didn't go a poking around to "fix" his eye

Yep, a botched eye surgery led to the death of JS Bach :(

On a happier note, a Web of Science search says that a pars plana vitrectomy can work, e.g.,

Stoffelns BM et al. (2011) Pars Plana Vitrectomy for Visually Disturbing Vitreous Floaters in Pseudophacic Eyes. KLINISCHE MONATSBLATTER FUR AUGENHEILKUNDE 228(4):293-297.

Not being an MD, there may be contraindications in your case, but it's worth querying your ophthalmologist.

Bob McCarthy
22-Sep-2011, 01:22
I had to go to a specialist to find my issue, which I would describe as somewhat similar to your issues.

It was called vitreoal detachment.


No simple fix either.


22-Sep-2011, 07:24
John, I've had the same things for years (as well as lots of floaters). Luckily, the big black patch is a little off center.
I see my retinal colleague every six months, and he says there's nothing practical to be done about it.

23-Sep-2011, 11:41
YUP.....I'm finding there's people at work that just have the same things...even one dude has one just like mine he says....right there and he has to dart his eye to get it out of the way.

I'm figuring that the best that they can do is determine WHAT it is

I'll definitely keep monitoring it and just hope it don't start getting real bad--I know that if I start messing around with "what ain't broke", I'll regret it for sure.....I can live with it and see with it for now...just going to pester the eye doc for a referral...or maybe that's my GPs call...I gotta see him pretty soon too...ahhhh...more joys of middle aging....

Thanks again to everyone--I know that this is an issue near and dear to EVERYONE here who love sight so much...tt is, after all, analog photography at it's most basic level, right?

27-Sep-2011, 14:12
First noticed my floaters about 45 years ago... none in my right eye, a bunch in my left; the largest looks like a bunch of grapes... yes, by rapid eye movement you can temporarily move them out of the field of central vision. The number increased significantly when I boxed in college for two years, for what that's worth.

As to effect on vision, I had better than 20/20 until my late forties... now in my sixties, I need glasses to read in poor light conditions. Sigh.

27-Sep-2011, 21:01
Yep, a botched eye surgery led to the death of JS Bach :(

The astronomer Tycho Brahe, Keplers boss, is said to have died because he refused to leave the table during a drinking bout at a banquet to relieve himself.


Michael Rosenberg
29-Sep-2011, 15:13
I would suggest seeing a retinologist - a specialty for the retina. From diabetes I have had floaters from leaking blood vessels, and hemorages in my left eye. I coped with the floaters by sleeping propped up, allowing gravity to pull them to the bottom of my eye while I slept. I eventually had a vitrectomy in my left eye due retractin on the retina in several places.

It is also possible for a retinologist to remove particles/floaters in the eye. These surgeries do carry some risk, but you have to evaluate the risk versus the benefit to yourself personally.

Also, Pressor Vision vitamins do help with retina health - They are marketed by BandL, and they did a clinical study to prove it. I have compared some other so called eye vitamins, and they all lack either specific ingredients or sufficient levels of the ingredients. I have no link to BandL.


18-Oct-2011, 17:42
I made an account just to reply to your post.

I am in my 20s and my life has been ruined by recent onset of floaters. Yes, do not tell me that I should rush to get retinal tears checked. Done that. Been to about 8 retinal specialists from East to West Coast. No help.

Till I started researching more and more, being a PhD student.

There are solutions available. Aggressive solution which offers almost crystal clear vision if it goes without any complications, namely vitrectomy. Read what retinal specialist Dr. Wong has to say about it @ http://www.retinaeyedoctor.com/2011/09/floater-only-vitrectomy-removes-floaters/

Of course, just like with any surgery, there are risks of complications with vitrectomy. Namely blindness from retinal detachment or eye infection. But what are the risks? 1-2% for retinal detachment, and 1/3500 for eye infection according to most resources I've read up on. Are you willing to take that risk or live the rest of life miserably, always running from the Sun, hiding in a dark room, cuz of floaters? Your call.

Your second option is laser vitreolysis. It is less invasive, but also gives very variable results, depending on patient profile and the type of floaters. There are currently three doctors in the US who perform this procedure namely Dr. Geller, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Karichkoff. Google them.

Best of luck with whatever decision you make.

8-Nov-2011, 02:18
well...finally saw the eye dr---

NEW dr...just to get a new opinion---as before--nothing can be done that you would want to do--i.e. the risks are not worth trying to mess with it.

If I can live with it, that's all...it's bothersome but not blindness, you know?

when they get BAD enough...yeah...i guess maybe I'll have to do something...this ONE HUGE one....getting darker--dr said it's attached so it stays more or less centered..."it hasn't broken loose yet"....

that thing has been attached for since I was a kid--I don't expect it to ever break off--it'll get darker though....when it gets dark enough or big enough...well..THEN I'll have to make the decision...I'm hoping that's a LONG time off from now...and that the techniques improve to the point where it is commonplace.

for now--if there's nothing going very bad very fast, I'm going to just ADAPT....

it's kind of depressing that nothing can be done, but then again, nothing can be done about any other changes--grey hair, changing eye prescription needs....ALL the things that come with getting old...

Michael Graves
8-Nov-2011, 07:41
Just went through a retinal detachment....my second in two years. As about eleventy-three other people have said...get your a$$ to the eye doctor NOW!!! Seven days after surgery, I'm still only allowed a few moments at a time out of "my position". In fact...it's time to go back.

Phil Brown
10-Nov-2011, 11:08
I've had 3 eye surgeries-a simple cataract on the right and 2 very complex surgeries on the left, one to help a retinal blood flow problem that wiped out a third of the retina and damaged another third and another 10 years later to repair the damage the first caused.
I now have some sight in my left eye. That's a miracle. Run, don't walk, to an eye surgeon and find out what can be done. In the 10 years between my 2 surgeries great strides have been made. I get my health care today from the VA and my doctor was absolutely first rate.
You can be helped. Don't delay.
Phil Brown

10-Nov-2011, 14:48
I developed a black cloud in the center of my left eye 4 years ago. It drove me nuts anywhere there were uniform areas of light color. Blue sky, snow, clouds. I just about unraveled watching that GD thing. I can even see it when I close my eyes in a normally lit room. Big fun! Doc said I wouldn't notice it any more in a year. It took closer to 4 but I hardly notice it now, except when I need to focus quickly. I look away, then rapidly look back at what I need to focus on. It takes a second for the vitreous to catch up.

My doctor did not recommend getting any treatment, and he has floaters too.
Vitrectomy (sp) , in addition to being a radical procedure (sucking the fluid out of your eyeball!) carries an increased risk of cataracts, I was told by my doctor. He also did not recommend laser blasting. Anyway it doesnt bother me that much anymore, I just hope no more break off and join it.

Roger Cole
11-Nov-2011, 03:17
I have a normal (according to my eye docs anyway) number of floaters. I almost never notice them except when I read this thread. Then they're suddenly everywhere! ;)