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How to Do Away with Eye Floaters and Achieve Clearer Vision

A person is likely to develop eye floaters after the age of 50. Conditions such as diabetes and body constitutional imbalances may increase the risk of the problem’s onset.

Point-of-view of a person with eye floaters looking out at the sea 

As a person ages, the vitreous (gel-like liquid) that fills the space between the lens and retina in their eyes will start to shrink. Eye floaters will then develop and pass through the vitreous.

These will then move in front of the macula (the centre of the retina) and disrupt their seeing ability. Sometimes, the appearance of floaters can also indicate a retinal detachment.

Here are some reasons behind the occurrence of eye floaters and the methods that may help improve vision quality.  

Why Do People Develop Eye Floaters?

Close-up of an elderly woman sitting on a sofa with a plastic cover taped over right eye 
Cataract surgery can increase a person’s risk of developing eye floaters.

A person between 50 to 70 years of age is more likely to develop eye floaters. However, if you’re short-sighted, diabetic, have undergone cataract surgery or have previously been treated for an eye injury or condition, you’ll be more prone to the condition. 

Diabetes-related retinopathy  

Diabetes itself will not cause a person to develop eye floaters. However, a complication of diabetes mellitus called proliferative diabetic retinopathy can provoke bleeding. 

The latter condition involves the retina growing new blood vessels that are more prone to bleeding. Minor bleeding into the vitreous will see a person experiencing only a few eye floaters, but extensive bleeding may block their entire vision completely.

The blood vessels can also form scar tissue. These will impair macula function or lead to retinal detachment.

Uveitis 

A type of inflammation that affects the middle layer of eye tissue, uveitis can be broken down into four types. These are anterior uveitis, intermediate uveitis, posterior uveitis, and panuveitis.

Intermediate uveitis is an inflammation of the vitreous and peripheral retina – the area surrounding the macula. Blurred vision and eye floaters are common symptoms of the condition. 

Posterior uveitis is an inflammation of the back of the eye, including the retinal vessels. Like intermediate uveitis, a person may experience the onset of floaters and vision loss. 

Body constitution imbalances  

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that the appearance of eye floaters relates to imbalances in the Liver, Kidney and Spleen organ systems, such as: 

  • Liver and Kidney Deficiencies 
  • A lack of blood and jing (essence) 
  • Liver Fire, Damp-Heat, or Blood Stasis 

“The Liver connects directly to the eyes. A person who stays up late has irregular mealtimes, or uses electronic devices for a prolonged period will suffer Liver Blood damage. The combination of Liver Blood damage and insufficient Kidney jing will restrict blood supply to the eyes. The eyes won’t be able to function normally, and vision will be blurred,” explains Eu Yan Sang Physician Sam Ng Teck Xian. 

In addition, eye floaters can develop in people with diabetes and hypertension due to Qi (vital life force), Kidney, and Spleen Deficiencies, and visceral dysfunction.

What are the Treatment Options for Eye Floaters?  

To identify the condition and get a closer look at a person’s retina, a healthcare practitioner will dilate a person’s eyes. The step is necessary to ensure that the retina isn’t damaged, detached, or worse, torn.

If you have eye floaters, you may need to see a healthcare practitioner regularly. Regular assessments will enable the tracking of a shrinking vitreous and prevent more severe future outcomes.

Vitrectomy or laser procedure

Healthcare provider performing a vitrectomy procedure on a person’s eye
A vitrectomy can help remove eye floaters but may cause other related complications.

A surgical procedure to remove floaters is available but comes at a risk to your vision. It uses incisions to remove vitreous from inside the eye and replaces it with a solution that mimics the substance.

However, choosing to undergo the procedure can also increase the possibility of cataract onset, retinal tearing, or detachment. It may also prove futile in removing all floaters from the eye.

A laser procedure can also have the same effect. But, like a vitrectomy, it comes with its possible side effects.  

Herbal remedies 

TCM’s principal approach to treating eye floaters is to nourish Liver Blood, strengthen the body’s jing, and invigorate the Kidneys. If a person has been diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension, treatment will focus on: 

  • Improving eyesight 
  • Strengthening the Spleen and stomach 
  • Nourishing yin (passive energy) and the Kidney and Liver 

Qi Ju Di Huang (杞菊地黄) pills can address Kidney and Liver Deficiencies. Daily use can enhance the vision health of people with eye floaters.

Steep Chrysanthemum (ju hua, 菊花) and goji berries (gou qi zi, 枸杞子) in hot water before consumption to clear Heat and nourish yin. A herbal beverage that uses blackcurrant concentrate, konjac, and marigold (wan shou ju hua, 万寿菊花) and goji berry extract may help strengthen the retina.

Over time, a person may be accustomed to living with eye floaters. A few lifestyle modifications can also help prevent or slow the problem’s onset. Examples of these are:  

  • More rest and less straining of the eyes 
  • Maintaining a balanced diet and adequate hydration 
  • Not staying in an air-conditioned environment for too long 
  • Wearing suitable eyeglasses and using contact lenses less

Speak to a TCM practitioner before choosing to use traditional remedies. This will enable a person to reap the full benefits of each formula or ingredient without jeopardising their health.

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. Eye Floaters & Flashes. [online] [Accessed on 20 September 2022]
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Diabetic Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. [online] [Accessed on 20 September 2022]
  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Uveitis. [online] [Accessed on 20 September 2022]

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