All About Eye Floaters
Eye floaters are the squiggles and lines we see floating in our peripheral vision. When we try to focus on them, these floaters simply move to a different part of our visual field. Floaters are annoying for some but are otherwise generally harmless. However, as with any change to vision, a change in the frequency, amount, or size of floaters should be investigated.
What Causes Floaters?
Inside your eye is a gel-like substance called the vitreous. The composition of the vitreous changes as we age; over time, it becomes more watery and begins to break away from the retina. This process is normal and is associated primarily with aging.
When we see floaters, we aren’t actually seeing the floaters themselves. Rather, we are seeing the shadow the floaters cast onto the retina. This is because floaters are inside the eye, even though they appear to be in front.
The floaters themselves are clumps of collagen protein- parts of the vitreous that have solidified somewhat and clumped together.
When to See an Optometrist About Your Floaters
Almost everyone has some level of floaters, though some will have more than others. In most cases, floaters are harmless and are mildly annoying (at worst). However, if you see sudden change in the size, shape, and number of floaters – almost as if you are being “showered” in them – please see an Optometrist immediately. This may be indicative of a posterior vitreous detachment.