What’s That Floating Around in Your Eyes?

April 28, 2015 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

If you sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision, don’t be alarmed. They’re called floaters. Floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear gel-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky.

What Causes Floaters?

The most common cause of floaters is reaching middle age. That’s when the vitreous gel may start to thicken or shrink, forming clumps or strands inside the eye. The vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. This is the most common cause of floaters in people who are nearsighted, have undergone cataract operations, have had YAG laser surgery of the eye and/or who have had inflammation inside the eye.

The appearance of floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. Contact your ophthalmologist right away if you develop new floaters, especially if you are older than 45.

How Serious Are Floaters?

Most floaters are harmless and fade over time or become less bothersome, requiring no treatment. However, you should see your ophthalmologist if a new floater appears suddenly or if you see sudden flashes of light.

Floaters also may be a symptom of a tear in the retina, which is a serious problem. If a retinal tear isn’t treated, the retina may detach from the back of the eye. The only treatment for a detached retina is surgery.

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Entry filed under: To Your Health.

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