Everyone sees them from time to time: tiny black or gray spots, specks or lines in their vision. Known as eye floaters, these small spots and specks usually cause no harm to your vision. But in very rare cases, they can signify a serious eye problem. In this blog post, the board certified eye doctors at Visual Health explain what you need to know about eye floaters.

What Causes Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters are clumps or bundles of microscopic fibers that move or “float” around the vitreous, a gel-like substance in the center of the eye. Although floaters may seem like they are on the front of your eye, what you actually see are shadows of the floaters cast onto the retina. Although eye floaters are present when you are born, more floaters tend to occur as you get older due to the vitreous fluid breaking down over time. Eye floaters can come in the form of:

  • Lines
  • Dots
  • Spots
  • Gray clouds
  • Circles
  • Cobwebs

When are Eye Floaters a Sign of an Eye Condition?

Most eye floaters are harmless, temporary, and require no medical attention. In other cases, floaters can be sign of an underlying condition such as inflammation in the eye’s interior structures, diabetes and commonly after cataract surgery . In these cases, floaters are usually accompanied by other symptoms.

When several eye floaters appear suddenly, it can be a sign of posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), which occurs when the vitreous pulls away from the retina. PVD is typically harmless. However, a change in floaters or light flashes may mean that the retina itself is detaching from the inner back of the eye. In these cases, you should seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.

Schedule a Consultation with Visual Health Today

If you experience frequent floaters and would like to discuss your concerns regarding your vision, please schedule a consultation with one of the board certified eye doctors at Visual Health. Contact our team today by calling our Palm Springs office at (561) 964-0707 or our Jupiter office at (561) 747-1111.