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Do eye floaters go away?

woman irritated by her eye floaters

Specks and squiggles of grey or black the “float” across the eyes, better known as eye floaters, are something that the majority of people have or will experience at some point in life. 

Floaters are usually harmless and occur naturally from aging. But sometimes, they can be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Floaters can be bothersome, and although they do not usually go away completely, they do get smaller and less noticeable as weeks and months go by.

Do eye floaters go away on their own?

Most floaters do go away without treatment, but some are persistent.

When the vitreous — the gel-like substance that fills the space between the retina and lens of the eye — becomes more liquid, eye floaters can appear. As this natural aging process continues, most floaters will move out of your field of vision, which makes them seem as though they have been eliminated.

If floaters are impairing vision, laser and surgical procedures may be recommended in order to help eliminate the problem.

How long do eye floaters last?

For some, eye floaters can disappear within a few weeks. For others, it’s a matter of months. This depends on the type and severity of the floaters.

In some cases, underlying conditions such as a torn retina or diabetic retinopathy can cause eye floaters to feel more apparent or longer lasting. Floaters can also be triggered by migraines, eye bleeding and recent eye surgery — all of which can intensify the condition.

SEE RELATED: Floaters treatment

What if eye floaters persist?

If you are bothered by a persistent floater that’s directly in your line of sight, try moving your eyes quickly in different directions of gaze. Sometimes, this will shift the position of the floater so it’s less bothersome.

Also, floaters are often more visible when you are tired or stressed. Making sure you get adequate rest and taking steps to reduce stress may make your floaters less bothersome. 

Natural treatments and eye drops for eye floaters should be used with caution, as they are not medically approved. 

Floaters are a natural part of the aging process, but it is best to have an annual eye exam to ensure the health of your vision. 

On the other hand, some eye floaters may indicate a serious underlying condition. If you have recently had eye surgery, suddenly begin to experience floaters or if floaters that already exist become severe, contact an eye doctor immediately.

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Gary Heiting, OD

Gary Heiting, OD, is a former senior editor of AllAboutVision.com. Dr. Heiting has more than 30 years of experience as an eye care provider, health educator and consultant to the eyewear ... Read more