Floater Facts

caucasian female with clean skin laughing with closed eyes and showing half of fresh orange while advertising benefits of vitamin C Occasionally you may notice one of those little “floaters” drifting across your field of vision – a squiggly line or fuzzy shape that appears out of nowhere, floats around a bit, and then just suddenly disappears. Everyone gets them and most of the time they are harmless – but have you ever wondered what floaters are and if they are something to be concerned about?

When should I see a doctor about floaters?

Floaters are caused by fibers floating around in the vitreous, the fluid in the eye. The fibers cast a shadow on the back of the eye, which produces the floaters, which can look like lines, wavy string, dots, or even cobwebs. Floaters move as your eyes move, which is why they seem to move when you try to look at them.

While floaters are a natural part of getting older, there are times when they are a signal that you should go see your eye doctor. You should see your eye doctor right away if you notice:

• A sudden increase in floaters

• A loss in peripheral vision

• Floaters after an eye injury or an eye infection

• Floaters that are accompanied by flashes of light, which may be a sign that your retina is detaching. The flashes of light would look like a camera flash.

• What looks like a dark shadow or a greyish curtain affecting your vision

If you don’t notice any of these symptoms and your floaters aren’t interfering with your day-to-day life, then you don’t need to do anything about your floaters at all. They may become less noticeable over time as you get used to having them.

If you are concerned, of course, you should bring them up to your eye doctor at your regular exam. He or she may dilate (widen) your pupil to get a good look inside the eye for any possible problems. If they are causing problems with your eyesight, there is a surgery called “vitrectomy” that can remove floaters.

If you are concerned about floaters – or any other issue – don’t wait. Call North Suburban Eye Associates in Massachusetts for an appointment today, at (781) 245-5200.

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