How to Get Rid of Eye Floaters: Possible Causes and When to See an Eye Doctor
If you are experiencing eye floaters, there are some things you can do at home that may help.
Eye floaters can be temporary. Sometimes, simply moving your eyes from side to side and up and down will remove them. If this does not work, there are certain foods and dietary supplements you can try.
Consuming fresh pineapple may help dissolve and eliminate eye floaters in some people. According to a 2019 study, an enzyme found in pineapple called bromelain may contribute to this effect.
Nutritional supplements containing bromelain and other enzymes may also help remove eye floaters. A 2022 study looked at the effects of bromelain, papain, and ficin on eye floaters. It suggests that taking an oral supplement containing these enzymes may eliminate eye floaters in some people. Papain is an enzyme found in papayas and ficin is found in fig trees.
A 2021 study found that taking supplements containing certain nutrients might reduce visual disturbances from eye floaters. These include:
- vitamin C
- grape seed extract
- bitter orange
Talk with your doctor before adding any nutritional supplements to your diet.
In addition to supplements, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may also help prevent, reduce, or eliminate eye floaters. Foods that may be helpful include:
- nuts and seeds
- whole grains
Eye floaters can be a sign of a serious eye condition. Talk with your doctor before trying any of these home remedies.
Eye floaters are shapes that drift around your field of vision. They can appear in one or both eyes and may be constant or temporary. You may only notice them when staring at a solid, bright surface such as a blue sky.
Eye floaters are caused by the formation of clumps in your eye fluid, known as the vitreous. These clumps create shadows by blocking light from entering your retinas. Your retinas are the light-sensitive spots at the back of your eyes.
Eye floaters can appear as:
- gray or black spots
Eye floaters become more common as you age. The consistency of the vitreous fluid changes over time and can form clumps or clusters.
Common causes of eye floaters
Common causes of eye floaters include:
Less common causes of eye floaters
Some less common causes of eye floaters include:
- bleeding inside the eye
- eye infection, injury, or inflammation
- crystal-like deposits in the vitreous fluid
- eye tumors
- vitreous detachment
- retinal tear
- retinal detachment
Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:
- eye pain along with floaters
- blurred vision
- flashes of light or the number of floaters or flashes increases
- a dark, curtain-like shadow
- floaters that begin after eye surgery
To diagnose eye floaters, your doctor or optometrist will typically dilate your eyes. To do this, they will put special drops in your eyes that cause your pupils to widen. This allows them to clearly see inside your eyes and check for floaters or other problems. They may also press on your eyelids to check for retinal tears.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may then refer you to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor specializing in eye procedures.
Eye floaters often resolve on their own and may not require treatment.
If your eye floaters are caused by another medical condition, treating that condition may eliminate them. Conditions that may cause eye floaters include tumors, eye infection, or a detached retina.
However, your eye floaters may not be due to a treatable medical condition. If eye floaters are significantly interfering with your daily life, your doctor may recommend a vitrectomy.
Vitrectomy is a surgery that removes the vitreous fluid by suction and replaces it with a sterile saline solution. As time passes, your body will replace the saline solution with new vitreous fluid.
A vitrectomy is considered a risky procedure. Because of this, your doctor may only recommend a vitrectomy if other treatments are unsuccessful.Doctors may also use laser treatment to remove eye floaters. However, this treatment is less common and is not reliably effective.
Here are some more questions people frequently asked about eye floaters. These answers have been reviewed by Ann Marie Griff, O.D.
Can eye drops help with eye floaters?
Your doctor may prescribe eye drops to treat conditions such as eye infections or eye inflammation. If your eye floaters are caused by these conditions, then prescription drops may help.
Over-the-counter drops to moisten the eyes will probably not help with floaters. There appears to be no link between dry eyes and floaters.
Can eye floaters be cured?
Aside from extreme cases requiring a vitrectomy, there is no reliable medical treatment for eye floaters. Most floaters will go away with time, or you may eventually become used to living with them.
How long do floaters in the eye last?
Sometimes, floaters are temporary and will go away in minutes as the vitreous redistributes in your eyes. They can also last for months or years. If they are not associated with an underlying condition, it may be unclear how long they will last.
Eye floaters occur when clumps form in your eye fluid. They vary in size and shape and are more likely to develop as you age.
The only reliable medical treatment for floaters not caused by an underlying medical condition is surgery. However, surgery for eye floaters carries the risk of potential complications.
Some nutrients found in both foods and supplements may help with eye floaters. Floaters often go away on their own or you may become used to living with them.
Talk with an eye doctor if you are concerned about eye floaters. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience new symptoms with eye floaters. These can include increased eye floaters, flashes of light, or shadows, or a curtain over your eyes.