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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are floaters a sign of retinal detachment? Should I see a doctor?

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    Yesterday I noticed an increase in the number of floaters in my visual field. How serious is this, should I see a doctor, and could it be a sign of retinal detachment?
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    Rowan has over ten years experience as an optometrist and since graduation from Melbourne University has worked throughout Australia and in the UK, in all … View Profile

    An increased number of floaters in your vision may be a sign of a retinal detachment, but it is not a definitive symptom.  The majority of people on their sixties have floaters and they are very common and usually innocuous.  

    However, any recent onset floaters should be checked by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.  They will examine your retina through dilated pupils to ensure there is no retinal disturbance.  Other symptoms to watch for in conjunction with floaters which may indicate a retinal detachment are: flashing lights; shadows across your vision; blurry vision or waterline in your vision.

    Retinal detachments often require rapid treatment to preserve vision and are a visual emergency when diagnosed.  Your optometrist or ophthalmologist is the best initial assessor.

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