Eye floaters are more common that you may think. They are typically described as specks or cobweb-like images moving around in the line of vision. Some people even report experiencing a “snow globe effect” as if they are swatting at many imaginary bugs. Floaters may annoying but in most cases are harmless and merely a part of aging.
Eye floaters are collagen deposits inside the vitreous humor that fills the space between the lens and retina of your eye. As you age the vitreous begins to dissolve and liquefy, creating a more watery consistency. Floaters appear when the collagen fibrils and vitreous membrane become disturbed and go into your line of sight. Floaters can range in size, shape and consistency and are often more visible when looking at a white screen or clear blue sky.
Eye floaters can appear in your vision as threads, fragments of cobwebs or spots which float slowly in front of your eyes. You’ll also notice that these specks never seem to stay still when you try to focus on them. Floaters and spots create the impression that they are drifting and they seem to move when your eye moves. Floaters are quite common particularly in individuals that are elderly, diabetic, near-sighted or anyone who has had cataract surgery.
In many cases, floaters are simply an annoyance and can be left alone. Sometimes they will improve over time. In some cases though, floaters can be so distracting that they can block vision and consequently interfere with daily activities and functioning.
If you experience a sudden onset of floaters, if they are accompanied by flashes of light or vision loss, if you have pain, or you have just experienced eye surgery or trauma, floaters could indicate a serious eye problem that requires immediate medical attention.
There are a number of eye disorders associated with eye floaters including retinal detachment, retinal tear, vitreous bleeding, vitreous and retinal inflammation or eye tumors, all of which require medical treatment to avoid vision loss. If you have sudden onset of new floaters, do not wait to book an appointment with your eye doctor to confirm if the floaters are benign or need immediate surgical treatment. At our office, our experienced team of doctors are fully equipped to diagnose any floaters that may appear in your vision and counsel you on your treatment options.