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“Natural” treatments for eye floaters vary in efficacy, with many sources making claims not backed by medical science.
At the same time, some promising research suggests that there may be ways to deal with floaters without surgery, assuming there is not a more serious underlying cause for a person’s floaters that requires more immediate medical intervention.
Common Natural Treatments for Floaters
Even if no other eye health symptoms are present, many people find eye floaters distracting and would like to see them disappear.
Because the primary medically accepted treatment for floaters is surgery, many people seek out “natural” treatments they can try at home. None of these will dissolve your floaters, but they can promote overall eye health, which can help to reduce the impact of floaters.
These natural approaches include the following:
Certain changes to diet are sometimes purported to help treat floaters.
Usually, the proposed changes are intended to prevent your eyes from drying out or improving blood circulation. For example, you may read about eating foods rich in vitamin A, like carrots or sweet potatoes, or adding more turmeric or ginger to your diet.
Some sources claim eye exercises may help blood circulation in the eyes, reduce floaters, or even reduce a person’s need for corrective eyewear. These exercises usually involve slowly spinning your eyes in circles or focusing on a distant object for a period of time.
The internet is full of a wide array of herbal treatments making various claims. These products often are rooted in (or claim to be rooted in) traditional Eastern medicine, often specifically traditional Chinese medicine.
The contents of the supplements meant to treat eye floaters can vary, and we outlined some of these ingredients below.
Changing Bad Habits
Some bad habits, notably smoking, can affect blood circulation and reduce a person’s eye health. The idea behind this natural approach is simply to adjust your behavior and thus improve circulation.
Some people claim stress can cause floaters. They also purport, by extension, that practicing stress reduction techniques (like meditation and active mindfulness) can help to reduce the severity of your floaters.
What Are Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters are clumps of gel or cells that sometimes form in the vitreous humor of your eye, which is a substance composed mostly of water and cellulose that fills the eye behind the lens. As these clumps float around the eye, they can pass over your field of vision.
This can cause a visual effect that is sometimes described as the following:
Eye floaters become more common with age, as the vitreous of the eye usually thickens or shrinks over time. They can also signal more serious problems.
Are Natural Treatments for Floaters Effective?
The efficacy of the above treatments varies.
Notably, better blood circulation and improved eye health won’t get rid of floaters already in your vitreous. At the same time, evidence-based ways to improve your eye health, like smoking cessation, can still help your overall eye health and could conceivably reduce the formation of new floaters.
Eye exercises may help some people, but not to the degree often claimed.
Diet has a known impact on eye health, but its link to treating floaters is less clear. Most claims on the benefit of various nutrients backed by legitimate research focus on their ability to delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration in older adults. Studies do suggest some nutrients can help reduce vitreous degeneration, which can cause floaters, although these antioxidants would not rid a person of floaters already present.
The debate about the efficacy of traditional Eastern medicine is ongoing, with the primary criticisms being that the herbal supplement industry is poorly regulated and understudied. Many sources make claims that are not backed by research.
Stress doesn’t cause floaters, so stress reduction will have no impact. At the same time, practicing stress reduction techniques is generally good for overall mental health regardless.
The Most Evidence-Based Treatments for Eye Floaters
Of all natural floater treatments, consuming pineapple (specifically the enzyme it contains, bromelain) is one of the most evidence-based ways to naturally treat floaters already in the eye.
Another study also suggests a diet consisting of the following nutrients over the course of six months might also cause a reduction in floaters:
- 125 mg l-lysine
- 40 mg vitamin C
- 26.3 mg vitis vinifera extract
- 5 mg zinc
- 100 mg citrus aurantium
Note that the studies into these treatments are ongoing. There also may be unforeseen side effects of these treatments, with some people noting that a diet that potentially breaks apart the collagen binding floaters might also be breaking apart collagen elsewhere in the body. This could have a negative effect elsewhere.
When to See a Doctor for Floaters
Floaters can accompany more serious medical issues, including these:
- Retinal tears
- Retinal detachment
- Eye infections
- Eye injury
- Eye inflammation
If you have not had floaters in the past or see a sudden increase in the rate of your eye floaters, see a doctor as soon as possible. You should also see a doctor immediately if you see flashes of light accompanying your floaters, a veil-like gray shroud passing over your vision, or any other symptom that seems serious.
These may signal medical issues that can cause permanent vision loss if not addressed quickly.
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