What Exactly is a Floater in Your Eye?

Eye floaters are tiny specks or strings that float into your field of vision. While they may be a nuisance, eye floaters should not cause you any pain or discomfort.  If they persist, however, you should schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor.

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Eye floaters can appear as black or gray dots, lines, cobwebs, or blobs. Occasionally, a large floater may cast a shadow over your vision and cause a large, dark spot in your sight. Because the floaters are inside the fluid of your eye, they will move as your eyes move. If you try to look right at them, they will dart out of your vision.

Eye floaters commonly appear when you stare at a bright, plain surface, such as the sky, a reflective object, or blank paper. Eye floaters may be present in only one eye, or they may be in both.

Floaters and spots typically appear when tiny pieces of the eye's gel-like vitreous break loose within the inner back portion of the eye.  Posterior vitreous detachments or PVDs are common causes of vitreous floaters. Far less commonly, these symptoms can be associated with retinal tears or detachments that may be linked to PVDs.

Most eye floaters don’t need any type of treatment. However, eye floaters may begin to impair your vision, especially if the underlying condition worsens. The floaters may become so bothersome and numerous that you have difficulty seeing. If this occurs, in rare cases, your eye doctor may recommend treatment in the form of laser removal or surgery.

In laser removal, your eye doctor uses a laser to break up the eye floaters and make them less noticeable in your vision.

Another treatment option is surgery. Your eye doctor can remove the vitreous during a vitrectomy and replace it with a sterile salt solution that will help the eye maintain its natural shape. Over time, your body will replace the solution with its own natural fluid. A vitrectomy may not remove all the eye floaters, and it will also not prevent new eye floaters from developing.


For more information on eye floaters please visit AllAboutVision.com.

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