You may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. They are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky.
Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye.
ALTHOUGH THE FLOATERS APPEAR TO BE IN FRONT OF THE EYE, THEY ARE ACTUALLY FLOATING IN THE
VITREOUS FLUID INSIDE THE EYE.
While these objects look like they are in front of your eye, they are actually floating inside. What you see are the shadows they cast on the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and allows you to see.
Floaters can have different shapes: Little dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs.
What causes floaters?
When people reach middle age, 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. It is a common cause of floaters.
Posterior vitreous detachment is more common for people who:
- Are nearsighted
- Have undergone cataract operations
- Have had YAG laser surgery of the eye
- Have had inflammation inside the eye
The appearance of floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. You should see an ophthalmologist right away if you suddenly develop new floaters, especially if you are over 45 years of age.