What are Eye Floaters?

Have you ever noticed spots in your vision or something seemingly covering your eye while you try to look at an object? Most likely you have experienced eye floaters and not even known it. Eye floaters, also known as vitreous floaters, give the perception that something is floating in your line of vision. The technical term for eye floaters is myodesopsia and can appear as a spot in the line of vision, cobwebs, filaments or small threads. While this may seem like an optical illusion, you actually have something going on inside your eyes.

Understanding How Eye Floaters Occur

To be able to understand how eye floaters occur, you must first understand the eye. The cornea is located at the front of your eye and behind the cornea is the pupil. The pupil is the dark center of your eye. The colorful part of your eye is known as the iris. Between the pupil and the iris is the aqueous humor, which is a small reservoir of liquid.

What are Eye Floaters? Picture of human eye.

Most likely you have experienced eye floaters and not even known it.

At the back of your eye is the retina, which consists of a layer of light-sensitive cells. Light excites the retina neurons and messages are sent through the optic nerve to the brain, which tells you what you are looking at. In between the lens and retina is the vitreous humor, which is a liquid material. This liquid is a jelly-like material that is colorless and consists of mostly water.

Eye floaters are created in this material when something else, like cells or blood, becomes mixed with the vitreous material. Ocular detritus is created and blocks the light which creates the eye floaters. As we get older, the substance becomes less jelly-like and thinner. When it becomes thinner, the solids in the vitreous have the ability to come together. This creates small shadows on the retina, thus creating floaters.

Consult an Optometrist

While floaters are not necessarily something to worry about, if you do have an onset of sudden eye floaters or flashes in your line of vision, be sure to visit an eye doctor. Even if symptoms disappear, you should have your eyes evaluated by a professional. Posterior vitreous detachment may have occurred and this can lead to a tear in your retina. If the tear is left untreated, you may face significant eye damage in the future.

Retinal detachment can also take place and will need to be attended to immediately. When this occurs, you will experience a bright flash of light, blurred vision, floaters, shadows or even blindness in one eye.

It is best to have your eyes evaluated to check the health status of each eye. That way you can determine if you are simply suffering from eye floaters or flashes or that a significant eye issue is present. Either way, you will have peace of mind knowing that your eyes are cared for. Schedule an appointment today if you have experienced any odd sensations or vision issues.