Cataracts and Floaters

March 29, 2018 — by Thomas Byrd, MD
Tags: Cataracts Flashes And Floaters

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 40. Cataracts are basically clusters of proteins that accumulate on the natural lens of the eye. As these proteins build up, they create a cloudy film on the lens, kind of like a fogged-up window. Although a cataract may not immediately disrupt a patient’s vision, as it progresses, a cataract can dull vision and make it more difficult for a person to make out details and colors. Dr. Thomas Byrd performs cataract surgery to treat the condition and improve a patient's vision. Following cataract surgery, patients will be able to focus and see much more clearly. However, some patients may notice floaters in their vision after cataract surgery. Here we discuss cataracts and floaters, and how they may affect our Detroit, MI, patients.

Clear vision vs. cataract vision

Do Cataracts Cause Floaters?

Floaters can be a natural side effect of the aging process. There are certain risk factors that increase the chances of a patient developing floaters, and one of these is cataract surgery. However, cataracts do not cause floaters. In fact, cataracts and floaters affect two completely different areas of the eye. A cataract builds up on the lens of the eye, while floaters develop in the posterior of the eye, within the vitreous fluid. As a patient ages, the vitreous is likely to shrink, and may also become stringy. Strands in the vitreous can create shadows on the retina, which then results in the appearance of floaters in the field of vision.

So, if cataracts and floaters are seemingly unrelated, it is natural to wonder why cataract surgery patients tend to be more likely to experience floaters. Rather than floaters developing after cataract surgery, it is far more likely that floaters already existed prior to surgical treatment. Since cataracts cause the vision to appear cloudy, the patient probably just could not notice the floaters while their vision was impaired. Once a cataract has been treated and the lens has been replaced with an intraocular lens, the vision is clearer and it is much easier to notice small imperfections, such as floaters.

Treating Floaters

In many cases, floaters are small and only cause a minor visual disturbance. Actually, some patients only notice floaters when they are in certain lighting conditions. However, if floaters are large and consistent, they can definitely be a nuisance. When floaters are seriously impacting the vision, they probably require treatment. Dr. Byrd offers a comprehensive range of eye care services at his practice. He is happy to discuss possible treatment for floaters with those of his patients who are dealing with this condition.

One of the most common treatments for floaters is laser vitreolysis. This procedure involves the use of a laser energy to safely and effectively vaporize vitreous strands. By destroying vitreous strands, we can eliminate floaters and clear the patient’s field of sight.

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At his eye clinic, Dr. Thomas Byrd offers treatment for a wide range of eye conditions, including cataracts and floaters. If you are interested in learning more about these services and how they can help you enjoy optimal vision, contact us at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!

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