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Eye and Vision Care

Eye Strings

10/12/2010

Question:

I recently developed "eye strings" "flies". Had an eye exam - no damage found. What can I do to eliminate or reduce this string effect?

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness. It sounds as if your "eye strings" could be due to a number of reasons.

If the eye strings are actually images that you see move across your vision, this could mean you have floaters. Floaters are strands of vitreous (the jelly-like fluid that fills the back chamber of the eyes) which clump together. This can cause black lines, string-like images, or dots to appear in your vision. An eye doctor who dilates your eyes should be able to tell you whether this is the cause of your "eye strings" or if your symptoms are caused by something else. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for floaters but you may tend to notice them less as time passes.

If the eye strings are actually mucous-type discharge you are wiping away from the eyes, then you may be having a physiologic response to an irritant or allergen in your environment. The eye coats itself with mucous to protect the eye from further irritation. As your eyelid blinks, it rolls the mucous layer up into strings that can stick to your lashes.

To prevent this problem, you need to remove yourself from environments that cause this irritation. Ask friends or family not to smoke indoors around you. Artificial tears are helpful to lubricate the eye to remove irritants and flush the surface. Don`t purchase eye drops that promise to, "get the red out". Those eye drops may dry the eye even further, and may cause the eye to become red and irritated.

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Response by:

Julia Rae Geldis, OD, MS Julia Rae Geldis, OD, MS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University