Dry eyes and floaters are both common eye ailments that affect people as they age.
Dry eye is a condition where the eyes don’t produce enough quality tears to lubricate, clean, and moisturize their surface. This causes symptoms including redness, itching, and burning eyes, and it can lead to vision problems if it’s not treated and vision changes if severe.
Eye floaters are shapes that appear in the line of vision. Floaters aren’t dangerous, although they can be a sign of an underlying issue.
Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of floaters and dry eye, and when to seek medical treatment for either condition.
Dry eyes and floaters are not connected. Dry eye is linked with tear production and function. People with dry eye either don’t produce enough tears, or their tears evaporate too quickly. This causes the eye to become dry and irritated.
Floaters are most commonly caused by normal age-related changes in the eye. Aging causes the vitreous humor (a gel-like substance in the eye) to deteriorate and become more liquid, which allows particles to float more freely. However, floaters can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as retinal holes, tears, or detachment.
Although the conditions aren’t related, you might begin experiencing them at the same time, since both conditions are closely correlated with aging. The conditions also share some risk factors: for example, people with certain medical conditions like autoimmune diseases and those causing inflammation are at increased risk for both dry eye and floaters.
Dry eyes and floaters might occur in the same people, but they have different causes.
The causes of dry eye are either too little tear production or tears that evaporate too quickly, usually because tears are of poor quality. This can happen for a variety of reasons:
The causes of floaters are often related to normal aging. As we get older the gel-like vitreous humor, which fills our eyes, becomes more liquid. This can cause strands of cellular material to float in the gel, creating floaters or spots.
In other cases, floaters can be caused by illness or injury, including:
The symptoms of dry eye or floaters can be irritating.
The symptoms of dry eye include:
The symptoms of floaters include:
It’s important to treat dry eye, both for your comfort and in order to avoid vision changes.
Floaters, on the other hand, don’t require treatment. However, you should see your healthcare provider immediately if you have increased floaters, flashes, blurred spot in vision, a curtain coming over vision.
The treatment for dry eye depends on the cause of your dry eye. There are lifestyle changes that can help to manage dry eye symptoms. Strategies may include taking vitamins and supplements, staying hydrated, wearing sunglasses, and limiting screen time.
Dry eye can also be treated with prescription eye drops that encourage tear production or tear duct plugs that prevent tears from draining too quickly. If you have dry eye, a telehealth visit or an in-person consultation with a healthcare provider can help you determine the right treatment for you.
Dry eye and floaters are both eye conditions that can develop with age. However, the two conditions are not related. It's important to see your healthcare provider about treatment options for dry eye, as the condition can lead to damage to the surface of the eye and changes in vision if left untreated. Floaters are mostly harmless, but can be a sign of a more serious medical condition, so seek out medical help if they persist.
Dry eyes and floaters are both irritating eye conditions. Although they’re not directly related, both dry eye and floaters are more common as people age. They can also be exacerbated by medical conditions like autoimmune diseases or eye trauma. Because of that, you might find yourself dealing with both dry eyes and floaters.
If you have dry eye, it’s important to treat the condition to avoid vision changes. You can make lifestyle changes like increasing hydration and reducing screen time, but it’s also a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider about treatments like prescription eye drops that can increase tear production.
If floaters come on suddenly or are accompanied by flashes, they can be a sign of vitreous detachment, a condition where the vitreous humor separates from the retina. This can lead to retinal detachment, which could potentially cause blindness. Because of this, it’s important to see a doctor quickly if you suddenly experience a number of new floaters.
Floaters are caused by changes to the vitreous humor, the gel-like substance within the eye. This occurs naturally with aging, or due to eye trauma, but eye strain won’t cause floaters.
Eye floaters are usually related to changes in the vitreous humor, and are not correlated with temporary circumstances like a lack of sleep. However, lack of sleep can contribute to dry eye.
Dry eye is not related to floaters. Dry eye is an irritation on the surface of the eye due to inadequate moisture. Floaters, on the other hand, occur due to changes in the consistency of the gel-like substance that’s inside our eyes.