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Can a Concussion Cause Eye Floaters?

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View of a beach with dots and squiggly lines throughout representing floaters.

Head injuries can be scary, especially traumatic brain injuries, also known as concussions. Your eyes and vision can also be affected. Your optometrist is in your corner through comprehensive eye exams to help keep your eyes and vision healthy. 

But can concussions cause eye floaters? It’s certainly possible but not necessarily guaranteed. Let’s explore what eye floaters are and examine the effects of concussions, including how they relate to your vision and when to see an optometrist.. 

What Are Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters appear as small lines, spots, and semi-transparent cobwebs in your field of vision. Eye floaters are actually tiny protein particles within the gel inside your eye that become more noticeable as they fall within your line of sight. 

Floaters move as your eyes move but lag behind your eye movements. Floaters can also sometimes appear with flashes of light, and a sudden onset can signal an eye emergency.

Eye floaters are usually a common occurrence as you grow older. However, if you notice a sudden increase in the number and size of floaters or flashes of light in your visual field, it can signal a retinal detachment, and you should contact your optometrist for urgent care. 

Eye floaters can be an emergency if:

  • You see flashes of light
  • You lose your peripheral (side) vision
  • You develop eye pain
  • You experience blurred vision or loss of vision

Floaters can be detected as a part of your comprehensive eye examination, where your optometrist will carefully evaluate your eyes. If you are concerned or unsure about your vision, it’s always a good idea to give your eye doctor a call.

Young male patient has his vision examined by a doctor.

Concussions & Eye Floaters

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can result from an impact or injury to your head. Concussions can cause noticeable symptoms that include: 

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision or blurred vision

Symptoms usually depend on both the severity of the injury and the person injured. As a result, symptoms can vary from person to person. It’s important to get the right medical attention even if you feel your symptoms are mild, as head injuries should always be taken seriously. Even with a mild concussion, it is important that proper care is taken to avoid furthering the impacts of the damage. 

Can Concussions Affect Your Vision?

Because concussions occur with impacts or injuries to your head and brain, you may experience some visual issues as a result. 

Eye floaters can appear following a concussion—however, they are not a diagnostic symptom of a concussion. 

Eye floaters are most commonly caused by the aging process. They occur when small flecks of protein and other matter trapped in the eye fluid get loose because of deterioration or certain injuries and eye diseases.

However, trauma from a concussion to the retina can lead to experiencing eye floaters, as this directly affects your visual system. While less common, injuries to the eye and surrounding area can lead to the appearance of more eye floaters due to the eye fluid structure being affected. 

Regardless, if you notice an increase of floaters in your vision it could be a good time to speak with your eye doctor, and is another important reason why we recommend annual eye exams for patients of all ages. Having regular check ups ensures that we can catch any changes to the health of the eye, and be able to start treatment sooner than later, if necessary. 

Preserving Your Visual Health

While eye floaters are not a diagnostic symptom of concussions, they can be an unfortunate side effect depending on the trauma or injury suffered. Your eye health is crucial to preserve, so any new eye floaters should be reported to your optometrist regardless of whether you have experienced a traumatic head injury or not.. Book an appointment with our optometrists in North York to get a comprehensive check-up and get any new eye floaters checked out for any further issues.

Dr. Shaina Nensi, OD and owner of Avenue Optometry

Written by Dr. Shaina Nensi, OD, FCOVD

Dr. Shaina Nensi, owner of Avenue Optometry & Vision Therapy, received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo. Dr. Nensi went on to complete a residency in Pediatrics and Vision Therapy where she received additional training in the areas of pediatrics, neuro-rehabilitation, vision therapy and eyecare for special-needs populations. Upon completion, she received The Canadian Association of Optometrist’s Award of Merit and the COVD Award for Excellence in Vision Therapy. Dr. Nensi is also a board-certified Fellow in developmental vision and vision therapy by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD).

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