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Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Floaters can look like small specks, dots, lines, worms or cobwebs in your field of vision when looking at something plain or bright like a blank wall, blue sky or computer screen. Floaters are tiny clumps of gel/protein or cells inside the vitreous of your eye. As we age, our vitreous starts to thicken or shrink. Sometimes clumps or strands form in the vitreous.

Most people have floaters that come and go, and they often don’t need treatment. But sometimes floaters can be a sign of a more serious eye condition. So if you notice new floaters that appear suddenly and don’t go away, it’s important to tell your eye doctor.

What are the symptoms of floaters?

Floaters move as your eyes move — so when you try to look at them directly, they seem to move away. When your eyes stop moving, floaters keep drifting across your vision.

When should I be concerned?

Most floaters are not a problem however sometimes they can be signs of a serious condition - a retinal tear or detachment. This is a sight threatening condition and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

You should contact your eye doctor if you notice:

  • a lot of new floaters that appear suddenly

  • "flashes of light"

  • a shadow appears in your peripheral (side) vision

  • a gray curtain covers part of your vision

Video Resource

Source: Fauquier ENT

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