Understanding Eye Floaters: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Do you ever notice tiny spots or specks that seem to drift or float across your field of vision? These are called eye floaters. Although they can be annoying, they are typically not harmful.


What Are Eye Floaters?


Eye floaters are tiny cobweb-like shapes, spots, or specks that appear to float in your visual field. They are little clumps of gel-like material inside your eye. When light enters your eye, it casts a shadow on these clumps, causing them to appear as floaters.




Eye floaters stem from changes in the vitreous, a jellylike substance that fills the back of the eye. As you age, the vitreous becomes more liquid and can shrink and pull away from the retina, causing floaters. Other causes of eye floaters include:

  • Eye injury

  • Eye disease or inflammation

  • Diabetic retinopathy

  • Retinal detachment

  • Migraines

Rarely, eye floaters may be a sign of a more severe problem. Such problems include retinal tears or detachment, necessitating urgent medical care.




It could be simpler to spot floaters when looking at a bright background, like the blue sky. While they are usually harmless, they can signal a more serious eye condition if they come with the following:

  • Flashes of light

  • Loss of peripheral vision

  • A sudden increase in floaters

  • A shadow or curtain appearing in your vision

If you suffer any of these symptoms, get help as soon as possible.




Diagnosing this condition typically involves a comprehensive eye exam, including a dilated eye exam. This enables the eye doctor to examine the retina and vitreous gel more closely. Further examinations like ultrasound or optical coherence tomography may be necessary to assess the eye's interior anatomy.


Treatment Options

When the brain gets used to them, they may gradually become less noticeable over time. But if they are significantly affecting your vision or causing anxiety, several treatment options are available.

A vitrectomy is one common medical option. This surgical treatment involves removing the eye's vitreous gel and replacing it with a saline solution. Laser therapy is another treatment option that breaks up the floaters and makes them less noticeable.




It is not always possible to prevent eye floaters. However, you may take several precautions to lower your risk of getting them. These include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing chronic conditions like diabetes, wearing protective eyewear when necessary, and seeking prompt medical attention for eye infections or injuries.


When to Seek Medical Attention


If you begin seeing floaters or bright flashes in your eyes, or notice a major change in your vision, you must seek medical assistance right away. These symptoms could indicate a more severe condition, such as a retinal tear or detachment, requiring prompt medical intervention.



Eye floaters are usually harmless but can be a nuisance. They result from changes in the vitreous and can indicate a more serious eye condition. Get quick medical assistance if you experience any floaters-related symptoms. 

For more information on eye floaters, visit Primary Eye Care at our office in Tupelo, Mississippi. Call (662) 200-9842 to book an appointment today.

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