Do you see web like strands, wavy lines or tiny strings of matter floating within your eyeball? They are the “eye floaters,” also known as myodesopsia. They naturally occur within the eyeball. The visual aberration may look like black or gray specks, strings or cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes.
When we are born and throughout our youth, the vitreous inside our eyes has a perfectly transparent gel-like consistency. As we age, the vitreous begins to dissolve and liquefy to create a watery center.
Occasionally, some undissolved gel particles will float around in the liquefied center of the vitreous. These particles can take on many shapes and sizes which we refer to as “floaters.” These objects exist within the eye itself (entoptic phenomena). We cannot actually see the tiny bits of debris floating within our eye. The shadows of these floaters are cast on the retina as light passes through the eye, and those shadows are what we see. These shadows never seem to stay still when we try to focus on them. Floaters move when our eye moves, creating the impression that they are “drifting.”
Ordinary eye floaters and spots are very common but are not a cause for alarm. They may cause subtle discomfort, particularly when viewing bright fields of color or when we peer at a bright, clear sky or a white computer screen. The most common treatment for eye floaters is no treatment at all – people very often get used to their presence and learn to ignore them virtually.
However, a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters, may signify a serious underlying condition, such as an infection or inflammation of the eye. And if floaters appear suddenly along with light sensitivity, light flashes, or a loss in peripheral vision, it may be due to the vitreous pulling away from the retina. It may also mean or that the retina itself is becoming dislodged from the inner back of the eye that contains blood, nutrients and oxygen essential for healthy function. Retinal tear or detachment, requires immediate medical attention. An eye surgeon can reattach the retina and restore function before vision is lost permanently.
If you suddenly see new floaters, visit your eye doctor without delay.
- What is an eye floater? What causes them, and how are eye floaters treated? (eyeglassguide.com)
- Eye Floaters, Flashes and Spots (allaboutvision.com)
- Eye floaters (mayoclinic.com)