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Coping with severe eye floaters

Although physically, severe eye floaters are usually harmless, psychologically they can affect your life via preoccupation, distraction, inability to concentrate and depression.  They are sometimes compared to Tinnitus in this respect.

Unfortunately, there is no totally safe or reliable cure for Degenerative Vitreous Syndrome yet and patients are advised to try to cope with floaters using conservative techniques if at all possible. There is no surefire solution to the quality of life issues that many people experience, but there are some things you can do that may help and we have listed some of those below.

Firstly, don’t try to cope alone; try to get support by telling your friends and family and help them to inform themselves about the condition.  If you are having trouble persuading people of the seriousness of the condition, you can print out our “The patient experience” page which may help. There are a number of organisations which can help with the practical and emotional impact of eye conditions as well as online communities including our own:

For useful ideas and advice on how blind and partially sighted people can make the most of their remaining vision, visit the RNIB’s See for yourself page.

There is some anecdotal evidence that professional therapy, particularly CBT, and relaxation techniques can help to reduce the impact of eye floaters. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information.

Lifestyle tips

The following lifestyle tips have been recommended by floater sufferers for floater sufferers. If you would also like to make some suggestions or contributions to this article, please let us know!

  • Wear your prescription lenses: Straining to see causes increased visual gain and this increased sensitivity can make eye floaters more apparent. Correcting any associated sight loss reduces the perception of eye floaters.
  • Wear sunglasses: Sunglasses reduce the amount of light getting into your eyes; this reduces the strength of the shadows cast by floaters on the retina, making your floaters appear fainter. Alternatively ask your optician about therapeutic tinted contact lenses, enabling you to darken your vision without sunglasses.
  • Change your computer monitor setting: Floaters often become more noticeable when looking at the large, bright, white areas on a computer monitor. Try decreasing the brightness, or lowering the backlight, of your computer display.
  • Enrich the visual environment:  Floaters are more intrusive in stark spaces, modern offices can be a special kind of torment to the DVS sufferer.  Break this up with indoor plants, coat stands, abstract pictures and patterns. Outdoor environments such as cities, parks and forests are full of detail and may be a better choice than beaches and ski-slopes.
  • Darken indoor spaces: Just as sunglasses make floaters appear fainter outdoors, tinted film or blinds on your windows will achieve the same effect when you look outdoors.  At work, try to pick a spot away from the picture windows.
  • Relax:  Relaxation techniques and simple mental exercises like counting backwards from ten will help to reduce the tension and stress floaters can cause you.  There are several websites explaining techniques.
  • But also keep busy:  Trying to ignore your floaters is unlikely to work, and sitting indoors will concentrate your attention on them.  But playing music and keeping your brain challenged with coordinating hand/foot and eye movements will shift your preoccupation.
  • Focus on the positive: Focus on everything that you can still see, rather than focusing on the floaters. Think about the colours, the detail and the movement in the distance, not the moving threads in the foreground. Think about the 95% good, versus the 5% bad.