Oral & Vision Health Blog

Eye Floaters: What Are They?

It's a bright, sunny day. Your eyesight is clear, but then you see something float across your eye. You think it's something outside but the same speck moves with you to the next object. You stare right at it, and it disappears. Most likely, you're thinking, "What the heck was that?"

That "something," that "speck," is called a floater. This is an eye condition that casts a shadow over your vision. It's more noticeable in light or white spaces. It can come in many shapes: black/grey dots, squiggly lines, cobwebs, ring shaped and transparent-looking threadline strands. But the question is: Are eye floaters a serious vision problem?

Typically, the only thing they cause for most people is annoyance. After all, they’re in your realm of vision and won't move to the side so you can focus. When you do focus on the floater, it moves away from your vision or it disappears from view. Symptoms usually improve over time and may possibly go away. You can learn to ignore them, too.

Out of control eye floaters, however, come from a sudden increase of them all at once. It may come with flashes of light, headaches or peripheral vision loss. That's when you need to contact an eye doctor. Immediate medical attention is required; ignoring it at this stage may cause permanent loss of vision. 

Some of the causes include:

•    Retinal detachment
•    Retinal tears
•    Internal eye bleeding
•    Eye injury
•    Eye disease
•    Eye tumors
•    Infections  
•    Inflammation

In most instances, however, it comes as a part of the aging process. And, overall, floaters are not a serious problem. You’ll be able to tell whether they are getting worse or better over time. Once you notice them, pay attention to how many you see and how often they appear. Typically, they stay the same or get better. If they get worse, contact your eye doctor immediately.

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