• Do new floaters qualify as an emergency during the coronavirus pandemic?


    Question:

    I’m seeing a bunch of new floaters today. Does this really qualify as an emergency during the coronavirus pandemic?


    Answer:

    New floaters may be a sign of a problem such as a retinal tear, bleeding inside the eye or a retinal detachment. That said, most floaters are harmless and not a threat to your vision. But if the floaters are darker than normal, there are significantly more of them, if your vision is diminished, if you notice a loss of peripheral (side) vision or if you see flashing lights, that may mean a more serious problem requiring evaluation.

    Many ophthalmology practices are running limited hours with certain restrictions in place during the COVID pandemic, so it is best to call your ophthalmologist first to discuss your symptoms to determine if an exam is necessary. Generally, and particularly now during this public health emergency, it is best to call your ophthalmologist right away for floaters/flashes evaluation rather than going to an emergency room or urgent care center. An ER or urgent care center will send you to an ophthalmologist for evaluation.


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