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Isthmus Eye Care Blog: Our Mission: Your Vision

What Are Floaters?

What Are Floaters?


If a small dot, web or thread-like spot appears in your line of vision, you may have what is commonly known as a "floater". Inside your eye, there is a clear, gel-like fluid called the vitreous. Usually, a floater is the result of this fluid clumping together. Or, sometimes small flecks of protein or other material that were trapped in the vitreous when your eye was formed can cause floaters.

So What Causes Them?

Like stated above, our eyes are filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called the vitreous humor. As we age, the vitreous humor becomes more liquid and certain protein fibers start clumping together. As light comes into our eyes, these clumped fibers cast a shadow on the retina, causing us to see floaters. They may be most noticeable when looking at something bright, like white paper or a blue sky.

Although irritating sometimes, these floaters are usually no cause for concern. Eye floaters can show up at any age but most emerge, as stated above, as we get older–usually after the age of 50. Most people adapt to floaters or simply stop noticing them. 

When Are Floaters Worrisome?

Sometimes floaters can be a symptom of certain eye diseases or a detached retina. If you experience the following symptoms, go see your eye care provider or doctor immediately as they could be a sign of a more serious problem:

  • A sudden worsening or increase in the number of floaters
  • Flashes of light
  • Floaters that gradually get worse
  • Eye pain
  • Floaters that appear after trauma or surgery
  • Loss or worsening of peripheral vision

If you notice any of the above symptoms, call your Isthmus Eye Care provider as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. 

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