What are Eye Floaters?
The obvious answer to what are eye floaters is that they are annoying. To look at the question a little more scientifically, we can say that eye floaters are shapes that float in front of our eyes. They often take the form of:
- Narrow or long black strands
- Shadows or small dots
- Tiny black dots
- Large black spots
They tend to be particularly noticeable in bright light or when looking at a blue sky or light coloured wall.
The Cause of Floaters
Floaters are caused when the jelly like substance at the centre of our eye picks up debris. The jelly like substance is called the vitreous humour. The debris which has started to float around in it blocks the light rays which are brought into focus on our retinas. The retina is where we interpret what we are seeing. The blocked light rays cast shadows on the retina, and it is these shadows that we think of as floaters.
Age Related Floaters
Floaters tend to occur as we get older and are part of the aging process. Often floaters will not cause significant problems and no treatment is necessary. They are also more common in people who are very short-sighted, have diabetes, or who have had a cataract operation.
There are occasions however, when floaters may be a sign of a more serious eye condition such as a retinal detachment.
If your floaters get more severe or you have noticed any changes in your vision, please contact us for further advice or to make an appointment.
Regular Eye Tests
As a general rule of thumb having your eyes tested regularly can catch a lot of eye conditions before they can become sight threatening.