Are there times when you are staring at a blank wall or the sky and notice little shapes floating in front of your eyes? Do these somewhat unclear shapes look like dusk stuck on the lens of a camera? When you try to blink them away or look somewhere else, they are still there. If this is happening to you, you are experiencing eye floaters.
What Are Eye Floaters?
These are specks or dots in one’s vision that seem to float away when one tries to look at them. Eye floaters often look like gray or black specks, cobwebs, or strings that seem to drift about or dart away when you move your eyes. They may stand out when you stare at something bright, like a blue sky or white paper. They can be quite annoying. However, they should not interfere with your vision.
Why Do You See Eye Floaters?
Essentially, eye floaters are condensation or deposits in the vitreous gel of your eye. This is the substance filling the posterior part of your eye. These spots may appear in both or one eye. Your eye’s lens and cornea aim light onto the retina. This is the light-sensitive tissue inside your eye. The light focused on the retina from images around you allows you to see.
The light must pass through the vitreous gel before reaching the retina. The vitreous gel is a jelly-like material occupying the back two-thirds of your eye. At birth and during your first few years of life, this gel is usually transparent and clear. However, with time, liquid pockets, deposits, or strands usually develop within the vitreous humor.
These changes in the gel’s density tend to cast a tiny shadow onto the retina’s surface. These shadows are what many people perceive as eye floaters. As you move your eye up and down or side to side, these deposits shift in position as well. This is what causes the shadows to appear to undulate, float, or move.
Eye floaters get their name from the fact that they tend to move around in the eye. When you try to focus on them, they tend to disappear or dart away. They usually come in different shapes, including rings, black or gray dots, cobwebs, threadlike strands, or squiggly lives. Once they develop in your eye, they usually do not go away. However, over time, you will notice them less.
What to Do About Floaters
If your eye floaters are too annoying, get them out of your field of vision by moving your eyes. This will shift the vitreous fluid around. If they are affecting your vision, visit your eye doctor. Your doctor may recommend a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure meant to get rid of eye floaters.
During the procedure, your eye doctor will remove the vitreous in the affected eye and replace it with a salt solution. You might also experience complications, such as cataracts, torn retina, or detached retina. The risk for these complications is relatively low. However, these complications can permanently damage your eyesight. Therefore, you need to consult your eye doctor if you have any concerns or doubts.
To learn more about eye floaters, visit Grin Eye Care at our offices in Leawood or Olathe, Kansas. We also have satellite locations in Raymore and Independence, Missouri, as well as Lawrence, Kansas. You can call 913-829-5511 today to schedule an appointment.