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Can Dry Eyes Cause Floaters?

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view of a blue sky with white clouds. There are black lines and squiggles on the image to represent eye floaters caused by dry eye

Many Canadians, approximately 6 million, live with a condition known as dry eyes. Dry eyes can have many symptoms that can disrupt your daily life, like having blurred vision, mild physical irritations, and redness. Having normal changes to your vision can cause you to see eye floaters. Sometimes, with age, the appearance of eye floaters will be combined with symptoms of dry eyes. Science has shown that there is currently no link between dry eyes and the cause of having floaters.

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a condition where your eyes do not produce enough tears to properly coat the eyeball or the tears that are produced are not of high enough quality to keep your eyeball moist.

When you have dry eyes, some of the symptoms that you may have with this condition are:

  • Stinging or burning feeling
  • Sandy, scratchy or gritty feeling
  • Changes in your vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Irritation when blinking
  • Eye redness 
  • Sensitivity to light and difficulty seeing in low, dim or at night
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes

There are many factors that can affect your eye health and it is important for you to let your eye doctors know if there are sudden changes. Dry eye might seem like a minor condition that you don’t need to mention to your doctor, but it can be treated. Your eye doctor can diagnose your dry eyes and help find a solution that is right for you. 

What Are Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters are different from dry eyes. When you have eye floaters, this will affect your vision differently than having dry eyes alone, but many times, people will live with both at the same time. Eye floaters look as though there are specks, black spots or grey lines around you where there are none.

Eye floaters could cause areas of your vision to be altered. Floaters might cause your eyes to:

  • See black or gray spots, strings or spider web-like areas
  • Not be able to see the spots/floaters in areas, when you try to look directly at it

When you notice that you have eye floaters, these symptoms need to be monitored closely. If there are changes to your vision, you might need to seek medical attention immediately. Some changes in your vision that require immediate attention from your eye care specialist include:

  • New floaters or more floaters than usual
  • Flashes of light in the same eye as your floaters
  • Darkness on one side or multiple sides of your vision 
  • A grey curtain, a veil or large areas of blurriness that block your vision

These symptoms could mean that there has been something happening in your eyes that, if not caught in time, could lead to permanent damage. Many times, these symptoms are painless but could indicate that you have had a possible tear or detachment in your retina which needs to be fixed surgically.

an illustrated image of a cross section of an eye, with light coming out and eye floaters depicted

What Causes Eye Floaters?

Your eyeball is filled with something that is called vitreous, which is a jelly-like substance.  When we are born the vitreous is attached all the way around the eye but with age, it shifts and parts of it start to liquefy which is called vitreous syneresis. Sometimes when the vitreous separates from the back of the eye, collagen fibers become visible and they may cast a shadow on the retina. These appear as floaters which look like different shapes as you move your eyes.   These clumps or particles of vitreous become more obvious in your vision when they fall in your line of sight. Due to your eye being filled with liquid, you might not always see these floaters as they tend to move around and do not stay in one spot. 

Some people can have these floaters in their eyes from birth, but if you get these later in life, and they change quickly, it could be a sign of a serious issue and should be addressed immediately by a doctor. 

Is There Anything I Can Do to Get Rid of Eye Floaters and Dry Eyes?

There are many treatments for both dry eyes and eye floaters. While you may not be able to fully get rid of either of these conditions, there are treatments so that you can be less affected and less bothered by the symptoms. 

Some treatments for dry eyes include:

Some treatments for eye floaters include:

  • Surgery to remove the vitreous inside your eyes
  • Laser vitreolysis to break up the floaters inside your eyes 

While these procedures are more invasive, neither will ensure that your eye floaters will go away permanently. Even with treatment, there is a chance that eye floaters may return. These treatments are not usually recommended for floaters in most cases. 

Here For Your Eye Care

Brantford Eye Care is here to help care for your vision. Whether it’s for floaters, dry eyes, or anything in between, our knowledgeable and friendly team can’t wait to meet you. Book your appointment at Brantford Eye Care today to speak with one of our eye care professionals.

Written by Dr. Cynthia Markarian Bahoshy

How many doctors does it take to change a lightbulb?”

One or two.

Clear, comfortable vision is such an integral and important part of our lives. I enjoy interacting with our patients, learning about them and their visual needs and I get great satisfaction when I can improve their quality of life by providing them with optimal eyesight at the same time as screening for and treating potentially sight-threatening conditions.

I have been an optometrist at Brantford Eye Care (previously known as Dr. Robert Schumacher and associates) since 2002. I became the new owner of Brantford Eye Care in October 2012.

I attended the University of Ottawa where I studied Biochemistry as part of my undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree. I completed my Doctor of optometry (OD) degree at the University of Waterloo in 2002.

My externship was completed at the Houston Eye Associates in Texas. During that time, I gained extensive experience in all aspects of ocular health diagnosis and management. This included exposure to various retinal conditions, glaucoma, cataracts, children’s vision, binocular vision, and other aspects of ocular disease.

I worked as a student researcher at the Centre of Contact Lens Research at the School of Optometry, University of Waterloo where I gained extensive experience in all aspects of contact lenses. I also worked as a student researcher at the Ottawa General hospital in the Department of Ophthalmology during my university years.

I am an active member of the Ontario Association of Optometrists, The Canadian Association of Optometrists, the Ontario College of Optometrists, and the Hamilton and District Area Society of Optometrists. I am certified in the Treatment and Management of Ocular Diseases.

My main interests are in dry eyes, contact lenses, and in children’s vision. I have experience working as an optometrist at a Toronto LASIK centre and I am able to answer any questions you may have regarding LASIK and other refractive surgeries. We are affiliated with the various LASIK centres and can refer you for a complimentary LASIK consultation as well as perform your pre and post-op examinations at our office.

I enjoy many activities such as swimming, yoga, playing the piano, and spending time with my family. I enjoy solving visual issues and challenges and meeting new people.

I’ve been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful patients and families at our office. I enjoy being a part of Brantford’s health care team and look forward to seeing you at the office!

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