What are Vitreous Floaters?

Konrad Filutowski, MD

Konrad Filutowski, MD

“I see spots, bugs, spider webs etc. in my vision” Most of the time those spots or bugs are just floaters. Floaters are small specks or particles within the vitreous, which is the clear jelly-like substance that gives the eye its shape. Since they are inside the eye they move when your eye moves. If you try to look at them they will move and seem to fly away. They are more noticeable when you look at a light background and what you are actually seeing is the shadow from the specks cast on your retina.

Vitreous floaters are considered a normal part of aging. They are due to the fact that the vitreous shrinks and becomes less jelly-like over time and more liquid. What you are left with is debris or tiny specks of tissue that look like dots, webs or strings in your vision. While these spots may be annoying they are usually not harmful. They usually fade over time and become less bothersome.

While most spots or floaters are not harmful, sometimes they could indicate a more serious retinal problem such as a retinal tear or retinal detachment. If you notice a sudden increase in the number or floaters, flashes of light or a portion of your vision is missing then you need to see your eye doctor right away. Retinal tears or retinal detachments are emergencies that need to be treated immediately to prevent loss of vision.

Your doctor at the Filutowski Cataract & LASIK Institute can examine your eyes if you notice any changes in your floaters, and determine if they are the normal, harmless floaters, or a symptom of a more serious problem that requires immediate treatment.

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