Research and awareness for severe eye floaters
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I and others all over the world suffer from a highly symptomatic and disturbing form of eye floaters that never, ever go away or leave the field of vision.
I have lost the ability to work for any extended period of time due to the huge amount of large debris swirling all over my entire field of vision, all over the monitor I'm looking at, the whiteboard I'm trying to focus on, the road ahead, and virtually everywhere else. The floaters are bad to the point that they blur objects as they move through the field of view. After only several minutes in front of a computer or driver's seat I am mentally drained from trying to focus past the swirling mass of floaters.
Even simple pleasures such as enjoying the scenery or relaxing on a walk or a bicycle ride is now impossible; it is visually and mentally exhausting just to go outside or anywhere with moderately bright lighting like an office.
Unfortunately sufferers are very often dismissed by doctors as being obsessive, and as a result misdiagnosed with a slew of psychosomatic disorders, causing them additional but avoidable distress and suffering in addition to the daily torment caused by the disturbed vision caused by the vitreous opacities. This must change.
The under-appreciated reality is that eye floaters can range all the way from the barely noticeable (very common and normal thing for most people), to so severe it is difficult to perform day to day tasks due to the inability to see through the floaters in almost all lighting conditions.
The visual disturbance from symptomatic floaters can result in much psychological torment, as well as severe depression and anxiety from the loss of clear vision.
A reason floater sufferers are often misdiagnosed with psychosomatic disorders is because the inside of their eye does not appear much different from 'non-floater eyes' under standard medical examination. But, as of recent years some eye doctors are now aware or becoming aware that it is often simply not possible to reliably assess even highly symptomatic floaters with current diagnostic technology (SD-OCT/Ultrasound/Slit Lamp), especially the type of floaters more posterior in the vitreous. Even seemingly insignificant floaters from the doctor's point of view can in reality be very visually significant due to their position in the vitreous, as well as attributes such as high mobility and light scattering phenomena. The weakness in the diagnosis of floaters is under-appreciated, and thus extremely distressing to sufferers who consistently have their symptoms mistakenly dismissed by doctors as minor.
While normal eye floaters are extremely common, it is unknown how common symptomatic/severe eye floaters are.
I hope that this petition achieves 2 things:
1. Cause the medical community to re-evaluate the existing dogma in the diagnosis and management of eye floaters, and start or accelerate a paradigm shift.
This may lead to developments such as improved methods to appreciate the impact of floaters on the patient's quality of life, and to reduce the incidence of misdiagnosing patients with psychosomatic disorders. Achieving this goal may involve developing new or modified screening methods that make it possible in detecting the true impact of microscopic floaters in the pre-macular bursa region of the eye, not only the large and dense ones in the middle or anterior of the eye that are easy to visualise from the doctor's perspective. As it stands, diagnostic methods such as SD-OCT, ultrasound-B and slit lamp exams cannot reliably assess the significance of many types of symptomatic opacities, especially those types in younger patients.
2. Instigate research for more effective and safer eye floaters treatments, develop new management protocols and tools specifically for the diagnoses of vitreous floaters, and hopefully even find a cure.
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