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  • Writer's pictureTim White

What are “floaters”?

Have you ever heard of “floaters”? What are they? If you have them, should you be concerned? The floating specks you sometimes see in your vision are not on the surface of your eyes, but inside them. These floaters are bits of cell debris that drift around in the fluid (vitreous) that fills the back of your eye. Tiny collagen fibers inside the vitreous clump together and cast a shadow over the retina. This shadow is what you see. They may look like spots, specks, bubbles, threads, or clumps. Most adults have at least a few floaters. Floaters are very common and, for many people, are a part of the natural aging process. If you experience new floaters, do not disregard them. While most of the time floaters are harmless, they can be a symptom of a much more serious condition such as blood in your eye, inflammation, or a tear in the retina (the layer in the back of the eye). If you notice a sudden increase in floaters or if you see floaters along with flashes of light in your side vision, this may be a symptom of a retinal tear or detachment. If you experience these symptoms, call our office immediately. We can evaluate you and determine the cause.

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