Are "EYE FLOATERS" dangerous?

I noticed over the last 5 years or so that I had a slight blur in my left eye. I just watched a local TV news show the other day and they talked about EYE FLOATERS and wondered if there is any danger for this condition?

It only happens maybe once a year and it seems to come and go. Not until I watched the TV news a few days ago did I think there was a name for it?

Floaters should not be a problem – everyone has them. But, AFAIK, they don’t cause blurriness. I suggest you see an optometrist or ophthalmologist if you’re concerned about that.

I had one grow into a giant, fanged tube-worm and attack Manhattan.

Don’t ask me how I managed to survive.

Not usually dangerous, but can be signs of something bad.

If you notice a sudden increase in floaters or a large one that wasn’t there before, then that is definitely something to worry about. If you have been going along for the past five years with about the same level of floaters with no change in vision, then there is no immediate worry. If you are worried anyway and haven’t seen an eye doctor of some sort or other in the past five years, it wouldn’t hurt to do so.

Ok, first of all it’s “beholder”, “Eye Tyrant” or “Sphere of Many Eyes”. Not “eye floater”.

And yes, they are very dangerous. Do not approach. If you’ve spotted one in your basement, cave or dungeon you need to get in touch with a medium to high level adventuring party ASAP. Your local tavern is usually a good place to start looking.

Good luck with your aberration problem.

All I know is that they’re pretty crafty

Echoing an earlier comment, floaters can be a sign of trouble. In my case they were. I ignored a sudden increase and ended up with a detached retina. VERY serious. Having been through surgery and now with a vision problem in one eye, I am very aware of how fragile (and valuable) one’s eyesight is. Take no chances. See an opthalmologist or retina specialist for an exam. And do it every year.

I don’t see Cecil mentioning it, but my optomotrist told me it’s also related to how your eyeball changes shape over time if you’re nearsighted, apparently shedding off bits of retina as the orb slowly slowly twists like a balloon. Don’t know if that’s true, but I’m nearsighted and have got floaters out the wazoo.

I’ve had several bouts of laser treatment now for retinal holes (ten years ago, and then this year), and my optometrist always tells me to see him if I notice any increase in floaters. Generally, your optometrist can check it out and determine if you need to be referred to a ophthalmologist.

I’ve had them for about 10 years or maybe more? Never caused a problem, besides distraction…

Well, there’s floaters like “one floater every now and then”, and then there’s “shower of floaters, maybe accompanied by some lights when they show up.” The former is much more likely just to be a natural thing, the latter is probably something dramatic and quite likely exceedingly bad for your vision.

(I work in an ophthalmology department; IANAD/N. Mentioning one floater without any other side effects usually gets brushed off. Something more notable than that is a big-time cause for concern.)

There are many transient conditions of the eye which are not floaters. Some are harmless and some are harbingers of more serious conditions, either local to the eye or reflections of systemic disease.

Be careful assuming you have what you saw on TV. Transient blurriness is pretty non-specific as a symptom, and would not typically be a description for a floater.

Floaters themselves represent defects–usually particles of some type–in the gel and fluid portion of the eye that obstruct the light as it passes through to the retina. They are common but they are not a diagnosis, per se, and may represent a range of things from benign aging to new onset of serious disease.

I had a bad case of floaters and they thought it might be a detached retna, that was years ago and nothing came of it.

But this poster is correct a detached retina is very serious, it’s a “get your butt to the emergency room NOW” type thing.

But I just want to make sure people know floaters aren’t always bad, mostly they’re benign but they can be a sign of worse things to come

See an optometrist or ophthalmologist; it’s your eyesight for Og’s sake. I went to the eye doc for a floater problem and they showed me a little film on detached retinas - not something I want going on in my eye. It’s not like they can do much about floaters but the blurriness you mention doesn’t sound good either and my be something treatable… An eye doc can at least look in and see what is going on, so you have some idea what you are dealing with.

I had one like that (wasn’t fanged, though! LOL) Just about gave me a heart attack when it showed up! It was like I was looking through a microscope at some sort of virus or worm!

Quite startling when you’re not expecting it! :eek:

I’ve had swarms of them for more than 10 years; when the light is bright enough, it’s so bad it’s like having a permanent, translucent, gray or brown coil of rope in the middle of my field of vision!

I bring it to the ophthalmologist’s attention every time I get my glasses prescription changed, but she’s never found a detached retina. I wish someone would invent nanobots that would enter your aqueous humor and just tear those floaters to invisibly-small pieces.

I first noticed it about twenty-five years ago. Since then, nothing’s gone drastically wrong, though I’ve got more long-sighted as the years scuttle by.

That must have been some tiny film stock. Did you view it with a microscope? Where did they get enough detached retina to show it on?

wocka, wocka

If they’re bad, apparently you can have laser surgeryto get rid of them.