Eye floaters appear as small spots that drift
through your field of vision .

 They may stand out
when you look at something bright, like white
paper or a blue sky.
 They might annoy you, but
they shouldn’t interfere with your sight.

If you have a large floater, it can cast a slight
shadow over your vision . But this tends to
happen only in certain types of light.

You can learn to live with floaters and ignore
them. You may notice them less as time passes.
Only rarely do they get bad enough to require
treatment.

What Are the Symptoms?
Floaters earn their name by moving around in your
eye .
 They tend to dart away when you try to focus
on them.

They come in many different shapes:

Black or gray dots
Squiggly lines
Threadlike strands, which can be knobby and
almost see-through
Cobwebs
Rings
Once you get them, they usually don’t go away. But
you usually notice them less over time.

What Causes Them?
Most floaters are small flecks of a protein called
collagen. They’re part of a gel-like substance in the
back of your eye called the vitreous.

As you age, the protein fibers that make up the
vitreous shrink down to little shreds that clump
together. The shadows they cast on your retina are
floaters.
 If you see a flash, it’s because the
vitreous has pulled away from the retina. 
If the
floaters are new or dramatically changed or you
suddenly start seeing flashes, see your eye
doctor ASAP.

These changes can happen at any age, but usually
occur between 50 and 75. You’re more likely to
have them if you’re nearsighted or have had
cataract surgery.

It’s rare, but floaters can also result from:
Eye disease
Eye injury
Diabetic retinopathy
Crystal-like deposits that form in the vitreous
Eye tumors

Serious eye disorders associated with floaters
include:
Detached retina
Torn retina
Bleeding in your vitreous
Inflamed vitreous or retina caused by infections
or an autoimmune condition
Eye tumors

Something that might resemble a floater is the
visual aura that can come with a migraine
headache. It could look like what you see when
you put your eye to a kaleidoscope. It might even
move. It’s different from the floaters and flashbulb
type “flashes” that come with other eye problems .
This usually lasts a few minutes and may involve
the vision in both eyes. 

But then it completely
resolves unless you have another episode.
When to See the Doctor
If you only have a few eye floaters that don't
change over time, don’t sweat it.
Go to the doctor ASAP if you notice:

A sudden increase in the number of floaters
Flashes of light
A loss of side vision
Changes that come on quickly and get worse
over time
Floaters after eye surgery or eye trauma
Eye pain
Choose a doctor who has experience with retina
problems. If you don’t get help right away, you
could lose your sight.

How Are Floaters Treated?
Benign ones almost never require medical
treatment.

If they annoy you, try to get them out of your field
of vision. Move your eyes -- this shifts the fluid
around. Look up and down, that usually works
better than side to side.

If you have so many that they block your vision,
your eye doctor may suggest surgery called a
vitrectomy. He’ll remove the vitreous and replace it
with a salt solution.