A psychological perspective of eye floaters

Qual Health Res. 2012 Nov;22(11):1547-58. doi: 10.1177/1049732312456604. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


Patients experiencing flashes and spots in their perceptive fields often resort to consulting an ophthalmologist without finding an answer, mainly because these symptoms are not necessarily associated with pathology of the eye. The purpose of our research study was to understand the experience of these patients, differentiate among them, and propose different ways of treating them. We carried out an eye examination and echography, individual semistructured interviews, and dependency grids with 11 patients at the ophthalmology department of a public hospital in northern Italy. We found that individuals' ways of experiencing and reacting to eye floaters might be different and might depend on the perception of the disease, the personal explanation, the solutions tried, the trust placed in medicine, self-construction, and the dispersion of dependency. Understanding the experiences of patients suffering from eye floaters might help health care professionals to personalize their approaches to these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Eye Diseases / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Vitreous Body*