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Eye Floaters

August 12, 2015

Do you experience small moving spots that appear in your field of vision?  Do you notice these “floaters”  more when there is bright light or the background is a solid color like a blue sky or a solid white wall?  Then you may be experiencing eye floaters.  While these shadows or spots may be annoying at times they rarely interfere with good vision.  Lets look at what these floaters are and what may be causing them.

What are Floaters?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Floaters are  spots in your vision. They may look to you like black or gray specks, strings or cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes and appear to dart away when you try to look at them directly. Symptoms may include: spots of black or grayish blobs, spots that drift through your field of vision, spots that move when your eyes move, or possibly squiggly lines that are fairly transparent.

Causes of Floaters

Eye Floaters are usually caused by small flecks of a protein called collagen. The most common causes of these flecks of protein include:

  • Age-related eye changes- As we age the vitreous jelly that fills our eyeballs begins to liquify.  As the vitreous shrinks and sags, it clumps and gets stringy. Bits of this debris block some of the light passing through the eye, casting tiny shadows on your retina.
  • Inflammation – This swelling at the back of the eye called the uvea  may be causing the floaters to appear.
  • Bleeding in the eye. Bleeding into the vitreous can have many causes, including injury and blood vessel problems. Seek immediate medical attention of floaters appear after a blunt injury to the eye.
  • Torn Retina – Retinal tears can occur when a sagging vitreous tugs on the retina. Without treatment, retinal tear may lead to retinal detachment. Due to this more serious cause it is imperative to see a doctor if you are suddenly getting many more floaters than usual.  It is also important to immediately seek medical help if these floaters not only increase in numbers and frequency but also are accompanied by flashes of light.  Retinal tears are sight threatening conditions that should be treated immediately by an eye doctor.