Tag Archives: eye floaters

Riboflavin supplements and eye floaters

Updated 10/11/16   

In my earlier post about my experience with eye floaters, I mentioned that hyaluronic acid (HA) deficiency seemed to be a promising theory as to the cause. I had found a CureZone thread discussing one of their members’ success with four months of HA supplements. Vitamin C, which unmistakably makes my eye floaters worse, can degrade HA, so the idea seemed worthwhile. I put off the experiment for the future, however, as I had enough to deal with. Although the floaters can be very annoying, I haven’t gotten horribly panicky about them because they’ve waxed and waned over the years, which led me to believe that in theory it is possible to get rid of them, if only I can figure out how.

Recently my floaters got worse again. I narrowed it down to riboflavin (vitamin B2) supplements. I found a discussion of this unfortunate tendency in an online floater forum called Floatertalk, where several members had experienced an increase in floaters after taking a multivitamin.

My first experiment was with the formulation mentioned in the CureZone thread, Injuv, which seems to be marketed for the treatment of stiff joints and dry, aging skin. Apparently the Injuv form, which is made by several brands, is more absorbable. I have no idea how much more effective it is than regular hyaluronic acid. I can’t remember what happened when I took it — I think I tried it for a few days, found it worsened my insomnia, and postponed the experiment again.

Since then I have tried at least two other brands of hyaluronic acid several times, including Country Life, I think, following the label dosage. I noticed a difference in the eye floaters and my vision in general in about two days, and after several days my neck and back were noticeably less stiff. And then it stopped me sleeping. Which is what happens with 80% of what I try.

The few food sources of hyaluronic acid I was able to find are items that few Americans eat much of, which might be one reason riboflavin has this side effect. I found a list of hyaluronic acid food sources on Sandy Simmons’ site, which also refers to an ABC News report on a group of Japanese villagers whose hyaluronic acid-rich diet keeps them looking fabulous into their 80s and 90s. The list is very short: animal bones, tendons, skin, ligaments; some Japanese starchy vegetables; and miso, which does not have hyaluronic acid itself but genistein, which enhances its production.

One of hyaluronic acid’s jobs is to increase water absorption, so it’s important to get enough water if you take these supplements. I found several accounts of people who attributed their eye floaters to periods of dehydration, and several people who found that hyaluronic acid made their floaters worse. I’m guessing that some imbalance of the two substances was involved.

Another thing that made my eye floaters worse was vitamin A supplements, possibly because it lowered my already-low levels of vitamin E, which plays a role in hydration, or so say all sorts of beauty product ads.

If you too suffer from these accursed things, I’d be interested in hearing what you’ve discovered makes them worse.

No joy on the @#*! eye floaters

Updated February 6, 2012: additions made to paragraphs 4-6.

As if being myopic isn’t bad enough, what with the glasses in grade school and the terror of being caught in your spectacles by unannounced visitors, you also suffer the annoyance of your vitreous gel separating from your eyeball, lots of little cells floating up from the tear site, and groups of them forming into chains and blobs. Right smack in front of your retina. Like dust on a camera lens. All. The. Time.

In the winter, against the white snow, they are maddening. It got to the point where I was ready to rob a convenience store and drive to an optometrist in Virginia who uses a YAG laser to shoot the chains and blobs into oblivion. But then I got my contact lens prescription updated and my astigmatism corrected, and the floaters were tolerable again. They are still there, but they don’t drive me bonkers, and I can use the $5,000 on something else.

I’m pretty lucky in that my optometrist doesn’t tell me that I’ll learn to ignore them. He agrees that floaters can drive you nuts, especially with the constant blinking to try to move them out of your center of vision. The only treatment he has ever heard of is one in which the vitreous gel is suctioned out of the eyeball. He considers this a really bad idea, as one of its occasional side effects requires removal of the eye.

When I went looking online for people who were battling this I didn’t find any bona fide success stories, although there were a lot of theories about vitamin C helping and vitamin A making things worse. I found an account of success with four months of hyaluronic acid, which is harmless enough. I tried it for a few weeks but wasn’t religious about it, so I can’t conclude anything yet.

I also found people who felt that dehydration was to blame for theirs. If I understand correctly, hyaluronic acid draws in water, so perhaps levels of both have to be just right. According to Sandy Simmons’ Connective Tissue Disorder site, vitamin C can degrade hyaluronic acid — she cites this article — which might explain why it makes my eye floaters worse.

As I mention in my review of the CureTogether crowd-sourced research site, several users there indicate that they’ve found omega-3 fatty acids to be helpful. That’s next on my list.

Trying to find information about YAG treatments was a challenge. Many optometrists’ websites insist the danger of damaging the retina is too high. Other sites, including, obviously, those of the three US practitioners, present seemingly convincing arguments as to why this risk is minimal. I finally found a discussion group of people who have actually tried the treatments, and they seem to indicate the retinal injury risk is an issue. Hopefully the future will bring better information on the subject.