Eye Floaters, I guess

Jasdip

All of a sudden going out to the car, I see black streaks, like mascara in front of me. What a weird feeling!!! Not physically, but just weird.


I had my eyes checked last fall and I have superior far vision, and no change with my near/reading vision. My glasses didn't need to be changed. So I'm positive it's not the beginning of cataracts!


Obviously an app't with my optometrist is on the table.

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patriceny

They're so very weird aren't they? I have tons of them in one eye as a result of an eye problem which occurred years ago. Over time your mind may find a way to sort-of tune them out, I can basically ignore mine unless I'm trying to see them.

So glad you're getting it checked out asap. They can be a sign of something serious, OR it can be relatively harmless. I wouldn't hit the panic button but I wouldn't ignore them either. :)

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dees_1

After having gone through a torn retina with my husband, all I can say is get to your eye doctor ASAP! Streaks are not normal.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Every once in awhile, I see what look just little gnats flitting near me. I've even swatted at them, until I realize what's going on. I have my eyes examined every year....it's important as we age.

Let us know what your doctor says!

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greenshoekitty

I have gotten small dots, and now I have one that is more like a swinging cobweb. Sometimes it will bug me. Eye doc. explained the y of it to me. and told me about a lady who had a large one that they had to remove so it can be done. good to have it checked out .

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

While they can be an indication of something serious, floaters are also just a common sign of aging. So yes, in many cases they are perfectly normal.

I have multiple floaters with one eye....none with the other. And other than age related presbyopia, my eyesight is fine.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

Yes go get checked. Tell them you have this sudden appearance of black streaks, so they can get you in today or tomorrow.

I have lots of floaters, but they cause blurriness and cloudiness, and rarely a little black dot -- not black streaks.

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bpath Oh Sophie

Jasdip, call the ophthalmologist, not the optometrist.

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provogal

I had jagged painless flashes and streaks in one eye for about 1/2 hour. The optometrist said it was an opthalmic migraine, harmless and more common than you would think. Google it. It has not returned. I do have some floaters as well.

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ritaweeda

Yes go to an ophthalmologist, who can diagnose and treat eye disease. The optometrist can tell you if he sees something there but he can't diagnose or treat it. Floaters are common, I have them and have for years off and on but a sudden appearance, especially streaks, should be looked at.

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Texas_Gem

I second what dees_1 said. Hubby had a torn retina and streaks, halos, dark spots in vision are the signs. Please get seen ASAP!

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Michele

This happened to me and I had my eyes checked. Ophthalmologist. It turned out to be nothing but my cousin had a torn retina with the same symptoms

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mdln

Suggest seeing an ophthalmologist (not optometrist) or going to the emergency department. Things to be concerned about include central retinal artery/vein occlusion, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and vitreous hemorrhage.

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Jasdip

I have an app't with my optometrist. They recommend ophthalmologists.....we can't just walk in to see one. They recommended hubby's when he needed cataract surgery.

She said if I lost my peripheral vision, to go to emergency. They'll be putting drops in, so wear sunglasses, etc etc. And that it is common with age.

They only showed up once so far today. I'm definitely keeping watch on them.

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joann_fl

I think when you have floaters cataracts are involved. Better get checked.

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arkansas girl

joann, I've had floaters since I was a kid...very very common. Don't have anything to do with cataracts.

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

Before everyone freaks outs and panics, thinking that eye floaters are an indication of some serious issue that will ultimately result in blindness, it might be useful to read up on them. There are countless medically published articles online explaining what they are and their cause.

Floaters are a thickening or gelling of the vitreous fluid inside the eye, they are not uncommon and do not cause serious problems for most persons; they represent one of the most common presentations to hospital eye services and most everyone experiences them at some point in time. They can be present from childhood but often do not appear until late middle age. Sometimes they disappear on their own....sometimes they are not overly obvious and go unnoticed much of the time. You might not even realize you have them! They can be a sign of a serious eye condition and should be checked out, especially if they appear suddenly and to the point of distraction, but in most cases floaters occur when eyes age. In rare cases, floaters may be a sign of retinal detachment or a retinal tear.

And those who are nearsighted or have had cataract or laser surgery or who have had numerous eye infections or inflammation tend to be exceptionally prone.

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Hot Rod

I had a sudden new floater - it more more like a circular light that moved in an arc across a corner of my vision. I went to the eye doctor, and the next day I had surgery to repair a torn/detached retina.



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Annie Deighnaugh

Optometrists are trained to diagnose eye diseases so s/he should be able to pinpoint the problem.

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Elmer J Fudd

Optometrists have less than half the years of training that opthalmologists have and aren't medical doctors. Optometrists having training ultimately focused on correcting vision.

mdln, a physician herself, recommends going to an opthalmologist because of the variety of possibilities this situation could be caused by. annie, do you know better than mdln for some reason?

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happyleg

Glad ur going to eye DR. I get zigzag lights then get a migraine. Floaters ok, not STREAkS!

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ont_gal

Jas....did you have a headache after?....

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yeonassky

I too have had floaters. I have had my eyes checked out and have no other problems. Sometimes they settle and I no longer see them and sometimes I just get used to the ones that remain.

Here in Canada we are referred to ophthalmologists by optometrists. It works well here for the most part. We must make an appointment through a referral system.

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Annie Deighnaugh

elmer, optometrists study vision correction and diseases of the eye. What they don't practice is eye surgery and they don't prescribe medications. While an ophthamologist may have the ultimate solution for what may be the problem, an optometrist is certainly capable of diagnosing the issue and determining if surgical or other intervention is required...just as a gp can diagnose a broken leg but may send you to an orthopedist to fix it.

I don't feel a need to defend to you what my familiarity is with the study of optometry. Take it or leave it. Your choice.

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jemdandy

I wouldn't be too concerned if you mentioned "floaters" which you perceive as small black dots swimming in you vision field and if you hold your eye still, you might even see a dot drift downward. But streaks, wow. Those require immediate attention by an eye doctor (ophthalmologists), not an optometrist. It could be not much, or something serious. Don't guess. Get it checked out by an Eye Doctor pronto.

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chickadee2_gw

I had something similar maybe 5 years ago but I’d describe mine as threads not streaks. I know a couple of people who’ve had detached retinas and learned how important it is not to delay seeking treatment if that’s the problem. I called my optometrist and without seeing me, he sent me right to a retinal specialist. I’ll have to hunt up the paperwork but a vitreous hemorrhage sounds familiar. He didn’t doing do anything for it, but I had to contact him if it got any worse. I also had to come back for a follow up visit not too long after. I can still see some threads, mostly when looking into a bright light on the highway or on a white computer screen. I think I’ve adapted to them otherwise. At the time the doctor said if they really bothered me, he could do something about them, but I got the distinct impression it wasn’t something he’d encourage.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

Around here you have to have a referral to a specialist ophthalmologist (like a retinal specialist), but not to a regular one. Some years ago, the optometrist I'd gone to for years for glasses, announced to me that I had dry macular degeneration in one eye and wet in the other. A referral to the specialist revealed that the optometrist was completely wrong and my eyes were fine except for very small cataracts (which I've since had removed.)

The optometrist became enraged when I suggested that he should not have said that I had those conditions (which left me frightened for days until I saw the specialist) but should simply have said that he saw some things that concerned him and that I should see a specialist. He told me he'd say what he wanted to say. I requested my medical records and never went to him again.

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Annie Deighnaugh

annie, so you believe your view, in conflict with mdln, an MD, is better informed. How silly for you to think so.

elmer, no surprise your passing judgment on me based on no information as I've given you none on my background or my knowledge of the study of optometry.

Additionally, I didn't say it would be wrong for her to go to an ophthamologist. But if her insurance requires her to see an optometrist first, then she should be in good hands as one should be able to diagnose her issue as that's what they're trained to do. Just as it wouldn't be wrong to see a gp first for a suspected broken leg.

Moreover, the rules of the road on houzz are to address the comment, not the poster. So calling me "silly" or ill informed is inappropriate. One can disagree respectfully without insults.


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Debby

I've had floaters for as long as I can remember. And I get my vision checked regularly. Other than glasses for reading and very slight prescription for distance (very slight), my eyes are fine.

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Jasdip

Ont_Gal, no headache, blurring, cloudiness or anything. Just some black streaks, stringy things. Nothing since that one time.

The optometrist is the first step. They have all the equipment to diagnose things. They can then decide if an opthalmologist is needed......they're surgeons.

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nickel_kg

Jasdip, I'm late to this thread but glad to see you contacted a health professional so quickly. Eyesight is too precious to fool around with.

My husband is one of those who was ordered to immediate surgery for a retinal problem (DH: When can we schedule it, I have time later in the week. Dr: Call your wife, have her pick you up here and drive straight to the hospital, I'll meet you there within 3 hours. DH: !!!! ).

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Elmer J Fudd

"no information as I've given you none on my background or my knowledge of the study of optometry."

Hypothetically, let's assume you're an optometrist. If a patient called in describing these symptoms, you wouldn't have their best interest at heart to call them in to see you for something you may not be able to diagnose nor treat. An ER doc has said to go to an opthalmologist. That's a more educated and informed point of view than yours.

"if her insurance requires her to see an optometrist first,"

Medical insurance doesn't usually cover services by optometrists for acute conditions. Of course, because you're an optometrist, you know this already. So your "what if" is highly unlikely to be the case for anyone.

"Just as it wouldn't be wrong to see a gp first for a suspected broken leg."

This is a ridiculous suggestion and maybe better demonstrates your level of understanding of these things. If you called the office first, you'd be told to go immediately to the nearest ER.

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Annie Deighnaugh

elmer, let it go.

You're making major assumptions that somehow optometrists are not capable of diagnosing eye diseases but they are. Just because they haven't been trained in surgery doesn't mean they aren't well educated and trained professionals.

I recognize your devotion to physicians, but remember the person who graduated at the bottom of his medical school class is still called doctor.

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Elmer J Fudd

Same is true for everyone who graduates from optometry school. I respect what they can do but don't extend it. I'm not sure why you think they all wear Tshirts with a big red S on it.

Same title, for the fans of quackery, for graduates of chiropractic, homeopathic and naturopathic "schools".

Your other comments as I cited weren't very useful. Why not consider that your understanding of some of these things may need an injection of better information?

I'm not devoted to physicians. But I am opposed to silly or uninformed opinions.

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whatsayyou18

When my floaters were dx'd by my optometrist and because they affected my vision and were terribly annoying, he mentioned a procedure which could be performed by a retina specialist to have them removed. The vitrectomy was one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

Yes, of course an optometrist is capable of making a diagnosis. Of critical importance in a case such as the OP's is to be seen immediately for a dx.

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Annie Deighnaugh

Just because *you* think it's silly or uninformed doesn't mean it is. I'm done with this conversation elmer.

I'm glad that jasdip has already made her decision as to how to proceed with her issue and hope it's nothing but good news.


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Elmer J Fudd

I think you misread what jasdip said. Remember she's in Ontario, Canada. What she described was an HMO-like system, where you have to go through a preliminary step before seeing a "specialist". She had no decision to make, she had no choice. Her words were

"I have an app't with my optometrist. They recommend ophthalmologists.....we can't just walk in to see one."

But don't extend it too far. I doubt that even in Canada would one first go to a GP with a suspected broken bone.

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Texas_Gem

Several years ago my husband developed a cataract in his right eye, we suspect it was due to a previous injury given the fact that it was only one eye and he was in his 30s.

A few years after his cataract surgery, he got these weird dark streaks in his right eye one day and then they went away. He told me, I told him to call the doctor so he called his optometrist, who he sees once a year for his glasses, and he was seen an hour later.

The optometrist couldn't see anything but told him if it happened again or got worse, to come back.

Well, it did it again a few hours later but starting doing a halo thing. We called and the optometrist told us to meet him at his office right away. So we drive to the doctor's office at 8:30 on a Friday night, he looked and could see some blood in the back of my husband's eye and called the emergency retinal specialist.

Saw the specialist the next morning at 6am in a closed office, got diagnosed with retinal tear and scheduled for surgery the following day.

By the time he went in for surgery Sunday morning, his vision was fading back and forth between blurred or a dark area covering almost 50% of his vision field on that eye. It turns out he had a giant retinal tear!! His retina was weakened from previous injury and it tore. When it tore, it was basically flapping in his eye which made it gradually tear more. When it laid flat, he didn't see streaks, when it lifted and separated, he had dark spots. The retinal specialist didn't even realize how bad the tear was until he did the surgery.


He had to have a heavy "bubble" put in his eye to hold the flap down for 10 days which meant he had to lay flat on his back the entire time so the bubble would be positioned correctly.

Then he had to have another surgery where they removed that bubble and put in the normal one and then he had the recovery from that which consisted of several more days of various positioning.

I'm happy to say that the field of vision he does have is amazing. His doctors, specialists and yes, his optometrist too are all impressed with his recovery.

Normally, tears as bad as his were don't have the same results. Once the tear crosses the central part of the retina, you usually lose all sharp vision.

He has lost a good chunk of peripheral vision in that eye and that still bothers him but he has 20/25 vision in the rest of his eye.



The point of my little diatribe is that, when some random weird thing happened and then went away with my husband's vision, he called the eye person he normally sees, who got him in right away, told him to call back if it happened again, drove up and met us AFTER hours on a Friday night, saw something wrong and arranged for us to be seen by a retinal specialist as soon as possible, was the optometrist.


If something like dark streaks/spots happen in your vision and then go away, maybe it's not something you have to immediately schedule with a specialist but hey, definitely something to get looked at by someone, someone who can maybe tell you if it IS something to be concerned about.



For us, that was the regular eye doctor, aka optometrist.


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Elmer J Fudd

TG, I'm very happy that your husband received reasonable treatment and an acceptable resolution.

To see an optometrist after-hours implies some kind of personal relationship exists because few if any optometrists handle true "emergencies" nor have after hours on-call contact available. Also, your husband saw the optometrist twice and nothing was done. Had his vision problems been caused by a different acute cause, the time spent with the optometrist would have delayed his treatment.

The unexpected onset of a serious vision problem implies a potential major problem and for most people, absent being seen immediately by an ophthalmologist, the best step is to go to an emergency room. All have ophthalmologists on call, as well as other specialists accustomed to dealing with acute problems. This too is another area that I believe optometrists are not trained to handle.




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Texas_Gem

We have no personal relationship with our optometrist. I just tested to see if my memory was failing.

I called my optometrists office and got the automated system which says, "our office is currently closed. If this is an emergency, please press 0 to be connected with our after hours operator"

This is how we contacted him that evening.

I stand by what I said, and I'm very grateful that he saw us right away and contacted the retinal specialist.


Going to the ER and sitting for hours until being seen while being charged a ridiculous amount for an ER visit, only to end up with the same result of being referred to the retinal specialist? No thanks.

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Elmer J Fudd

I dialed 3 optometrists in my area, just now (a bit after 10pm). All had similar messages, like yours until the end "Our office is now closed. If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911".

I called an opthalmologist whose office is located near a hospital. The phone was answered by the doctor's call service so either the doc I called, one in his practice or one in a nearby one shares afterhour on-call duties.

I'm in a populated area with urban and suburban districts. Mostly suburban. The places I called would not be considered as having a "downtown" location. TG, I believe you live in a less populated area and in a different region. So, I'll assume our experiences differ because of what the common practices are where we each are.



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Jasdip

I just got back from seeing my optometrist.

I haven't had the black streaks since Monday, but I have been seeing little dots that I think are fruit flies/gnats, but they aren't. I'll swat at something, then realize it's me, not them.

So yes I have Posterior Vitreal Detachment" not to be confused with Retinal detachment. My spots will never go away, but my brain will become used to them and they won't be as noticeable to me. They checked my vision and it's still the same.....very good.

I do have a follow-up in 6 weeks, this is a critical period to see that they don't get worse. If anything drastically changes I'm to let them know.

Yep, officially getting old!

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Texas_Gem

I'm glad you got a diagnosis and that it isn't a retinal detachment!!

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Annie Deighnaugh

Glad you got a diagnosis and glad it's not more serious.

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phoggie

Jasdip, glad you found out...I also have this...in fact, it is happening right as I post. It is scary and was fearful the first time it happened...but he explained it as a “gel” that comes as “I get older” but I have to go see him every 3 months! How long does yours last? Right now, I have a bad headache but usually only lasts about 30 minutes!

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Michele

Glad to hear you’re ok.

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

phoggie, your post is confusing to me. I have age related eye floaters. They don't come and go - they are always there (so no 'episodes') but unless I look against a solid light colored background, they are almost completely unnoticeable. I say almost, as now and again I will get a sensation of something dark flying by my peripheral vision....what someone described previously as almost like a gnat or fly :-)

And there is NO pain associated with them at all.....never even a mild headache. I also do not need to have them rechecked any more often than I get my eyes checked, so once a year, if that. Unless of course something remarkable happens but in the 10 years or so these have been part of my life, that has never happened. I just consider them a normal aging phenomenon :-)

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Jasdip

Since mine just started, there's a 6-week window that they and I keep an eye on. That's when things can change. Unless I see anything drastically different, I have a follow-up in a month's time.

Yes as Gardengal said, they are now a permanent part of my life, but my brain will get accustomed to them and they won't be noticeable all the time. Bright light/sunlight will trigger them......make them visible.

Every once in a while I'll see a fruit fly/gnat, but I'll wait and really look to see if that's what it is, or just a floater. NO pain whatsoever.

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whatsayyou18

Interestingly enough, as my retina specialist explained it, the vitreous fluid which hardens and often breaks off with age creating the floaters, is only necessary in utero. Once the vitreous fluid is removed, floaters will not reoccur in that eye. My floater was very large and bug-like, constant and terribly annoying. I don't think my doctor ever had a more appreciative patient!

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