Floaters are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Because they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
Spots are often caused by small flecks of protein or other matter trapped during the formation of your eyes before birth. They can also result from deterioration of the vitreous fluid, due to aging; or from certain eye diseases or injuries.
Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision. Occasionally, spots can be indications of more serious problems. You should see your eye doctor for a comprehensive examination when you notice sudden changes in your floaters or if you see a sudden increase in the number of floaters (especially if associated with flashing arcs of light).
By looking in your eyes with special instruments, we can examine the health of your eyes and determine if a retinal tear or retinal detachment is present. If new floaters occur, you should be seen within 24-48 hours for a complete dilated retinal exam. Oftentimes these are the result of a posterior vitreous detachment which is usually a benign eye condition. But if a retinal tear is detected early, treatment is simple and prevents more serious problems. If a retinal detachment occurs the treatment is much more complicated and the return of good visual acuity is not always guaranteed.