Floaters, Cobwebs, What Exactly Are These Things In My Eyes?

I see a black, stringy form in the way and sometimes it can be a bit distracting. Should I be worried? What are possible treatments?

Now we regularly see people come in, telling us they see these black spots or things in their vision. In some patients, they happen quite spontaneously.


What are they?

“Floaters” are little specks, stringy forms or squiggly lines that we often notice when we are looking at a bright background or the sky. It is common for people to have them although it may be a bit surprising when it is first noticed.

Most people will also say that it follows them when their eyes are moving.


Why do we experience them?

Our eyes have a jelly inside that keeps the eyeball’s shape ( called a vitreous). Sometimes undissolved particles within the gel can float about and be noticed when bright light passes, which is the case when we are looking at a bright background or the sky.



When would it constitute an emergency?

Floaters in itself are benign most of the time. However, one should be wary if they see a sudden storm of floaters in their vision or see floaters accompanied with quick flashes at the side of their vision. This is because the person is at risk of having a retinal tear or detachment which is sight-threatening. If this is the case it is important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist straightaway to rule out any emergency situation.

However, another cause for seeing floaters with flashes can be posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) which is a condition where the vitreous gets heavier over time and disconnects from the points it was anchored causing a noticeable sudden floater and may often be accompanied with a flash as well.


For more information on eye health and eye conditions or to find your local Eyecare Plus optometrist visit:www.eyecarevision.com.au

About optometrists:

Optometrists are experts in vision care who diagnose, manage and treat a wide range of vision problems, eye diseases and ocular conditions. By prescribing spectacles, contact lenses, vision aids and other treatments, optometrists help their patients maximise and retain good vision for life.

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