Eye Floaters Definition: What are Eye Floaters?

Eye Floaters

What are eye floaters?

You will know you have eye floaters if you see small spots drift across your field of vision. They will be particularly noticeable when you stare at a bright object. This includes things like a blue sky or a sheet of white paper. Generally speaking, floaters are more of an inconvenience and shouldn't affect your sight too much.

You may find that, if your floater is particularly large, it will cast a shadow over certain parts of your vision. However, sufferers only claim this happens under certain light conditions. It is rare that people seek treatment for floaters as they need to get quite bad to warrant treatment. Instead, most people learn to live with them and find that they become less noticeable with time.

What causes floaters?

Floaters are, most often, small flecks of collagen, which is a type of protein. They form on a part of the vitreous, which is a gel-like substance at the back of your eye.

As you get older, these sheets can become shrunken and then start to clump together. In turn, they cast shadows on your vision, which are the floaters themselves. You should contact your eye doctor immediately if you see a flash, this means the vitreous has torn off from the retina.

As you get older, floaters are more likely to occur. Particularly between 50 and 75. Other causes include:

  • Eye tumours
  • Eye disease
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Eye injury
  • Crystal-like deposits have formed on your vitreous.

Symptoms of floaters

Whenever you try to focus on a floater, you’ll find that it floats away, as per the name. The typical signs of having a floater include the following:

  • Seeing squiggly lines
  • Cobwebs across your vision
  • Seeing grey or black dots
  • Having threadlike strands, which are often almost see-through and knobbly
  • Seeing rings.

It’s not likely that floaters will disappear once you notice them but they do become less apparent with time.

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