Floaters in Your Vision: What to Do and When to Worry


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Floaters are a common visual phenomenon experienced by many individuals. These tiny specks or strands that drift across your field of vision can be annoying, but they’re usually harmless. However, it’s essential to consult an eye care professional if you experience a sudden onset of floaters or other visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or a curtain-like veil in your vision.

What are Floaters?

Floaters are tiny clumps of cells or protein within the vitreous, the gel-like substance that fills the back of your eye. When light enters your eye, it casts a shadow on the retina, creating the illusion of floaters. They may appear as dots, circles, lines, or cobwebs, and they tend to move as your eyes move.


Photo by Anete Lusina

Causes of Floaters

Floaters often develop as a natural part of the aging process when the vitreous begins to shrink and become more liquid. This causes the collagen fibers within the vitreous to clump together, casting shadows on the retina. However, floaters can also be caused by:

  • Eye injuries or trauma
  • Eye inflammation
  • Retinal tears or detachment
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Eye surgeries, such as cataract surgery

Treatment Options

In most cases, floaters are harmless and don’t require treatment. Over time, your brain may learn to ignore them, and they may become less noticeable. However, if floaters significantly interfere with your vision or are accompanied by flashes of light, it’s essential to consult an eye care professional.

  • Vitrectomy: In severe cases where floaters impair vision, a surgical procedure called vitrectomy may be recommended. During this procedure, the vitreous gel is removed and replaced with a saline solution.
  • Laser Therapy: Laser therapy can be used to break up large floaters or treat underlying retinal issues that may be causing floaters.
  • Medication: Some medications may help reduce inflammation in the eye, which can alleviate symptoms associated with floaters.

Preventing Floaters

While it’s not always possible to prevent floaters, there are steps you can take to protect your eye health:

  • Regular Eye Exams: Routine eye exams can help detect any changes in your vision early on, allowing for prompt treatment if necessary.
  • Eye Protection: Wear protective eyewear when engaging in activities that could potentially cause eye injuries, such as sports or working with power tools.


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Floaters can be bothersome, and are a common, usually benign visual phenomenon that many people experience as they age. They typically don’t indicate a serious underlying condition, but any sudden onset of floaters should be evaluated.

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Ivan Yong

Dr. Ivan Yong is an optometrist with over 12 years of experience in the optical industry. He earned his doctorate from the Southern California College of Optometry and has practiced in multiple settings, including private practice, community health, and ophthalmology. Dr. Yong aims to expand access to affordable eyewear and improve eye health worldwide.