Floaters and the Low Vision Eye
Author: Dan Takas
Imagine staring at your television screen and suddenly a squiggly line drifts into your field of vision. When you try to get a closer look at it, it moves away as if it knows you're trying to see it better. What was that? you might wonder. As far as vision problems go, this can seem pretty disturbing.
Actually, such lines are known as eye floaters a" they're in fact fairly common and generally not harmful. Surprisingly, doctors haven't come up with an medical term for them; they call them eye floaters, too. Once you get used to floaters and realize they rarely affect eyesight in a harmful way, they can become easier to ignore.But for some people, floaters can be quite annoying. "Not a week goes by that a patient doesn't call us wanting to rush into a clinic and see us because they're seeing eye floaters," says an ophthalmologist at the Portland Eye Center at the University of Oregon State.
And while seeing eye floaters isn't a reason to panic, in some cases, you'd be right to call your doctor; Eye floaters can also be a symptom of a more serious eye condition. Also, inquiring about low vision products or products for macular degeneration would be something to look into.
Your eye is filled with a transparent jellylike substance called vitreous humor. Light bounces off your vitreous humor and enters your eye through the pupil. The light then passes through your lens, which focuses the image on your retina. Your retina helps send this information on to your brain to process.
Sometimes stringy clumps of cell fragments can develop and float around in the vitreous humor. If a floater gets in the way of the light coming into your eye, it will cast a shadow onto your retina, which you then see. As you get older, floaters tend to become more common. According to the institute, they're also more common in people with severe nearsightedness or diabetes.
Your eyesight is not to take for granted. Rest assured, most cases of floaters are not life changing.
How to get more information - Ask your Eye MD for a Low vision Specialist. Low vision specialists are licensed doctors of optometry who are trained in the examination and management of patients with visual impairments. A few of them are ophthalmologists with additional training in low vision care. Their services do not offer a cure for the causes of low vision, but they do help the patient learn how to utilize their remaining vision to its fullest potential. Low vision care does not replace the possible need for other treatments such as laser, medication, and surgery.
What are low vision aids - The most common low vision aid for reading is called a Desktop Video Magnifier. These low vision products feature a camera mounted over a tray on which the material to be magnified is placed. Some have a built-in monitor and are known as "stand-alone" magnifiers. Others are designed to connect to a television or personal computer.