What Are These Floating Spots?

What Are These Floating Spots?

Our first thought is often that we are mistaken, it was there and now it’s gone, but then we see it again – so what are these floating spots?

The term “floater” describes the small greyish spots, threads, or cobwebs which float in and out of our vision as we move our eyes, often noticed in bright light or against a white background, they tend to shift away if we try to look at them directly. A very common phenomenon, these floaters originate from the clear gel in the back of our eyes known as the vitreous.

As we age the vitreous shrinks and changes from a thick gel into a more liquid form. When this happens, the tiny collagen fibres within the vitreous clump together and cast shadows on the retina which are then seen as “floaters”. Floaters are not exclusive to old age, however if we live long enough they are normal and expected.

In most cases floaters are harmless and require no treatment. Over time they will often move out of our sight or we learn to ignore them.


Floaters, Flashes and Vision Loss

It is important to note that while many floaters can be attributed to normal age-related changes, if you experience a sudden increase in floaters or observe an accompanying flash of light or loss of vision, you must contact an optometrist immediately as these can be signs of an ocular emergency.


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