April 26, 2017

Eye Floaters

Eye Floaters

What are eye floaters?

"Eye floaters" are deposits or condensation in the vitreous (often referred to as vitreous humor, vitreous fluid, or vitreous gel), the material that fills the posterior part of the eye. People use the term eye floaters to describe seeing spots within their vision that move or "float" when they look around. Eye floaters may be present in only one eye or both eyes.

Why do people notice an eye floater?

The structures in the front of the eye (the cornea and lens) focus rays of light onto the retina. Light coming from images around us focused onto the retina allows one to see. The light going to the retina passes through the vitreous humor, which is a jellylike material that occupies the back two-thirds of the eye. At birth and during childhood years, the vitreous gel is usually totally clear and transparent. Later in life, strands, deposits, or liquid pockets very commonly develop within the vitreous gel. Each of these strands casts a small shadow onto the surface of the retina, and these shadows may be perceived by the patient as eye floaters. They are usually light black to grey in color. As the eye moves from side to side or up and down, these strands, deposits, or pockets also shift in position within the eye, making the shadows move and appear to float or undulate.

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Reviewed on 5/3/2016