Eye floaters are spots in your vision. Eye floaters may look like black or gray specks, strings or cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes.
Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. When this happens, microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump together and can cast tiny shadows on your retina, which you may see as eye floaters.
If you notice a sudden increase in the number of eye floaters, contact an eye specialist immediately — especially if you also see flashes of light or lose your peripheral vision. These can be symptoms of an emergency that requires prompt attention.
Jan. 24, 2012
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- Differential diagnosis of ocular symptoms. In: Ehlers JP, et al. The Wills Eye Manual: Office and Emergency Room Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&NEWS=N&PAGE=booktext&D=books&AN=01337416/5th_Edition/3&XPATH=/OVIDBOOK%5b1%5d/METADATA%5b1%5d/TBY%5b1%5d/EDITORS%5b1%5d. Accessed Dec. 21, 2011.
- Sendrowski DP, et al. Current treatment for vitreous floaters. Optometry. 2010;81:157.
- Facts about floaters. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/floaters/floaters.asp. Accessed Dec. 21, 2011.
- Retinal detachment: Torn or detached retina treatment. EyeSmart. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/detached-torn-retina-treatment.cfm. Accessed Dec. 27, 2011.
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