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Floaters and SpotsWhat are floaters and spots?
Floaters (often called spots) are small, semi-transparent specks or particles within the eye that become noticeable when they fall within the line of sight. They may also appear with flashes of light.
Does everyone have floaters?
Almost everyone sees a few floaters at one time or another. They can occur more frequently and become more noticeable as you grow older. If you notice a sudden change in the number or size of floaters, you should contact your Doctor of Optometry right away, so you can be sure they are not the result of a more serious problem.
What causes floaters?
The inner part of your eye is made up of a clear, jelly-like fluid known as the vitreous. Occasionally, small flecks of protein and other matter become trapped in the vitreous during the formation of the eye before birth and remain in the vitreous body. Floaters and spots may also be caused by the deterioration of the eye fluid or its surrounding parts, or by certain injuries or eye diseases.
What do floaters look like?
Floaters are generally translucent specks of various shapes and sizes. They may also appear as bugs, threadlike strands or cobwebs within the eye. Since they are within the eye, they move as the eye moves and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
Can these floaters cause blindness?
Most floaters are normal and rarely cause blindness. But, floaters can be indications of more serious problems, such as a retinal hole, tear or detachment, and if you see them you should have a comprehensive optometric examination to determine the cause.
How are floaters detected?
As part of a comprehensive eye examination, your Doctor of Optometry will thoroughly evaluate the vitreous and retina of your eyes. Your optometrist uses these instruments to examine the health of the inside of your eyes and may also observe the floaters within your eye. This is often done after the doctor puts special drops in your eyes to make the pupils larger (called dilation) to allow a fuller view of the inside of your eyes.