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You may notice floaters more when looking at a bright sky, or computer screen for example. Any situation where bright light makes the floater's retinal shadows more prominent will increase seeing symptoms such as:

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


Most floaters are not harmful and will usually disappear with time, requiring no treatment at all. In other cases, vitreous floaters may be a sign of a retinal tear. If left untreated, the retina may detach from the back of the eye requiring surgery or a laser procedure. If you notice any sudden appearance, increase in frequency, or increase in duration of flashes of light and/or a sudden appearance of floaters, it is very important to schedule a full eye examination with your doctor. If you experience any changes with your vision along with these symptoms, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid any permanent vision loss.


In some cases however, floaters could be signs of other more serious vision problems, such as retinal detachment.

Floaters are actually tiny bundles of cells, or undissolved gel bits "floating" around in the more liquefied center of the eye.

The inside of the eye is filled with a clear gel-like substance called, vitreous. As we age the vitreous begins to dissolve into a more watery substance in the center of the eye. Floaters are tiny bundles of undissolved gel bits. They will appear as if they're on, or in front of your eye, but what you are actually seeing is a shadow cast onto the retina (the back of the eye which is responsible for sensing light). Floaters are commonly described as spots, dots, specks, flecks, clouds, and even cobwebs. Typically floaters are not a serious eye issue, but they can sometimes be moderately bothersome in your field of vision. In some cases however, floaters could be signs of other more serious vision problems, such as retinal detachment.


During the formation of your eyes before birth, small flecks of protein or other matter is trapped in the vitreous fluid causing floaters. Spots can also result from breakdown of the vitreous fluid itself, due to aging; or from certain eye diseases or injuries. When people become middle aged, and as their vitreous gel starts to shrink, sometimes clumps or strands will form inside the eye. Floaters can also be caused by the vitreous gel pulling away from the back wall of the eye, this is known as Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). PVDs are normally not an emergency, as opposed to a retinal detachment.
However, if light flashes appear along with a sudden presence of floaters or spots, it is very important to contact your eye doctor immediately. This could indicate the vitreous is pulling away from the retina, or that the retina has become torn or detached from the back wall of the eye. With retinal detachments, medical attention must happen quickly in order to reattach the retina before permanent vision loss results.

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