Nick Williams

Nick Williams

My name is Nick Williams, I’m 20 years old and from South Australia and here’s a little bit about my life and eye floaters.

The first time I ever recognized I had what I later found out to be ‘eye floaters’ was June 2011. I had recently got a new office job and one day I just noticed a pin head sized black dot the seemed to follow or move around my eye whatever direction I looked in. Unfazed by this I ignored it as I really had no idea what it was and at that point in time wasn’t really bothered by such a small black dot. A few months after this I was focusing on my computer and all of a sudden I noticed a big flash and felt a weird sensation in my left eye. Shortly afterwards a 2cm long line appeared in it. At this point I started to get a little worried and the next day I remember driving to work and looking outside of my car into the daylight and this black line followed every slight eye movement.

Over the next few weeks these lines increased and I decided to go to an Optometrist to get my eyes checked out. He carried out a slit-lamp exam and reassured my everything with my retina was fine although I needed glasses. He informed me I had ‘eye floaters’ which although bothersome were not vision-threatening. Unsurprisingly, I was upset when I was told that these eye floaters would stay with me for the rest on my life unless I had major ‘vitrectomy’ surgery to remove the inner gel of the eye and replace it with a saline solution.

Over the following weeks and months, it progressed to a situation where my whole visual field was covered in clouds of ‘garbage’. I decided to get a second opinion from an Ophthalmologist to reassure myself I wasn’t going blind – even though at times I felt my vision being covered in black cellular clouds was on par if not worse than blindness. I saw him in late December 2011; he was empathetic towards my situation and assured me this was a case of harmless eye floaters that, although in big numbers and a nuisance, didn’t pose any threat to my visual acuity. He said he was reluctant to perform a vitrectomy and considered it to be a last resort, as playing with your eye sight is not a gamble you should take lightly. The harsh reality is there are some serious possible complications from the surgery, despite this I do think one day I will build up the courage to get the operation performed on both my eyes.

Over time my vitreous seems to have continued to degenerate with more and more debris attaching itself to a very large central floater in my left eye now with three stubborn black wormlike shapes in my right. I would now catergorize myself as a severe case. I also developed tinnitus in my left ear which was just another blow to my happiness.

When I first developed the condition I was severely depressed, I felt like it had destroyed all my motivation and ambition for a bright future. Something I had taken for granted so often had been taken away from me, clear vision. The simplest things in life like walking down the beach admiring the beauty of the ocean and a cloudless blue sky was no longer possible without this horrible rubbish clouding my vision. I am an avid sports fan and player, I could no longer play soccer without floaters distracting and depressing me. I was terrified to step foot outside without sunglasses as all I could see was at least a dozen black clouds, worms & strings dancing around my vision. It is horrible.

For a few months I was trying to figure out where I was at and how I could recover from this and get my life back on track. I started to research the condition on the internet and the general consensus seemed to be that it was a trivial condition and the brain would adjust to eye floaters eventually. Thankfully I stumbled upon a forum, floatertalk which has many people in the same situation as me. It was amazing to discover that I wasn’t alone because prior to me getting floaters I had never heard of the condition or anyone having it.

After living with the condition for over a year now I do think I have got more used to these things. But it’s been a up and down ride, I have my good days and I have my bad days. I try to stay positive and accept things the way they are because sitting around being depressed all day doesn’t change anything and it’s just a cycle of negativity. I still often research a cure and do think one day I will get the vitrectomy operation to remove this rubbish from my eye, although I’m very scared of possible complications. I don’t think my life has felt the same since developing floaters, but I’m now back to living it as I did pre-floaters; I go to the gym religiously, follow a very healthy diet and still live a very active social life. I hardly ever mention my floaters to anyone because it’s really something only someone with the condition would understand. But if I had the choice between a billion dollars and floater-free vision, I’d pick a floater-free vision without a second thought.

If I could give anyone who was suffering from floaters any advice I would say to them, try just to adapt to them and focus on making your days here count because that’s what life is all about. Try to keep things in perspective, there are worse things that can happen and it can get better. All the best of luck guys.