Do Natural Treatments for Eye Floaters Work?
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Eye floaters are spots, made up of tiny threads of the vitreous in your eyes, casting a shadow on your retina. While floaters are harmless and will go away on their own, some people find them annoying, and they want natural treatments to address them.
Foods rich in vitamin A can improve your overall eye health, potentially making floaters less prevalent. Eye exercises can boost your circulation. Certain lifestyle and environmental changes, like moderating alcohol use and having sufficient lighting for tasks, can have the same effect.
While floaters are normal and harmless, you should call a doctor if they obscure your vision or if you notice bright flashes when you see them.
What Are Eye Floaters?
Eye floaters are spots of different shapes and sizes in your field of view. They can resemble cobwebs, specks, or loops. They tend to drift when you move your eyes, and if you try to look at them directly, they look as though they jump away.
Floaters tend to be caused by changes in the eyes due to age, as the vitreous (the jelly-like substance in the eyes) liquifies and contracts. Loose clumps of collagen fibers form inside the vitreous, creating tiny shadows on the retina. The shadows are what we call floaters.
Floaters are completely normal and harmless, and they do not indicate the presence of other eye conditions. However, they can be distracting. For this reason, many people have explored natural options for making floaters go away.
Natural Treatments for Eye Floaters
The main accepted treatment for problematic floaters is surgery, but most people would prefer more natural treatments.
There are no natural, at-home treatments that are capable of entirely doing away with floaters. If the issue is severe and persistent, surgery may be needed. That being said, these natural remedies can improve the overall health of your eyes, which might reduce the level of distraction and annoyance from floaters.
A Balanced Diet
Changing your diet might be able to mitigate the presence of floaters. Aiming to include more of certain foods can improve your blood circulation and prevent your eyes from drying out. Carrots and sweet potatoes, which are rich in vitamin A, can do this. Adding ginger or turmeric to your diet can also have the same effect.
Vitamins & Supplements
Vitamins and supplements that support overall eye health do not specifically target floaters, but they may be useful in promoting overall eye health.
Ginkgo biloba, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc are recommended by dieticians and natural medicine advocates for improving blood flow and promoting better vision, and this may be a tool to mitigate the presence of floaters. Do not neglect proper hydration and a balanced diet since they provide key nutrients for your vision.
Some naturopathic doctors suggest doing eye exercises to improve the blood circulation in your eyes, and this may help to reduce the number of floaters you see in your vision. Exercises typically involve slowly spinning your eyes in circles or focusing on a distant object for a period of time.
Naturopathic and optometrists alike will recommend giving your eyes frequent rest and taking regular breaks from looking at your electronic devices.
There are other lifestyle changes you can make to try and control the presence of floaters. Smoking, for example, impairs blood circulation, and this may be a factor in seeing floaters.
Some patients have noted that the more stressed they are, the more they are bothered by floaters. Practicing stress reduction techniques, even something as simple as getting regular sleep, might help in reducing the severity of floaters. You can also try deep breathing exercises and meditation.
Eye strain, typically from looking at a computer or a phone screen for hours on end, can also make floaters look and feel more visible. Taking regular breaks is highly recommended to protect your vision, and this can also minimize the presence of eye floaters.
Being in environments where you are subject to a lot of bright light can also make you more aware of floaters than you normally would be. Where possible, try to lower indoor lights when they are too bright. Try to use lamps instead of overhead lights since lamps do a better job of diffusing light in a space.
Wear sunglasses with adequate ultraviolet protection, especially if being in bright outdoor environments seems to exacerbate your floaters.
Similarly, make sure you have adequate light when doing tasks like reading, so you do not unnecessarily strain your eyes.
When to Call a Doctor About Floaters
You should consult a doctor if you notice that your floaters are getting worse — more distracting and more prevalent, making it harder to see. Also, contact a doctor promptly if you perceive flashes when looking at floaters.
In most cases, even if your floaters do not permanently disappear, they will become less troublesome and be less distracting over time.
Ultimately, learning to ignore floaters — perhaps by using a stress-reduction technique — might prove as effective as anything else that purports to be a natural cure for eye floaters.
- What Are Floaters and Flashers? (September 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- What You Can Do About Floaters and Flashes in the Eye. (April 2020). Harvard Health Publishing.
- Vitamin A and Carotenoids. (June 2022). National Institutes of Health.
- 4 Yoga Exercises for Eye Strain. Yoga International.
- Digital Eye Strain: Prevalence, Measurement And Amelioration. (April 2018). BMJ: Open Ophthalmology.
- Acute-Onset Floaters and Flashes. (March 2012). Canadian Medical Association Journal.
- Management of Vitreous Floaters: An International Survey the European VitreoRetinal Society Floaters Study Report. (May 2020). Eye.
- Dietary Intervention With a Targeted Micronutrient Formulation Reduces the Visual Discomfort Associated With Vitreous Degeneration. (October 2021). Translational Vision Science & Technology.