Floaters consist of small clumps or strands of blood cells or sloughed off tissue from the inner walls of the eye. These cells or clumps drift around in the vitreous fluid in the posterior region of the eye. When this debris floats near the back of the eye it casts a shadow on the retina. That shadow is interpreted by a person as something floating in the air out in front of them. As the particle drifts around, so does the observation noted by the individual. With time, almost everyone will have "floaters", sooner or later.
Floaters can be very annoying or distracting to ones activity. As such, the question arises regarding their removal. The answer to this question lies within the magnitude of the observations. Treatment for this condition consists of literally draining the vitreous fluid from the inside of the eye, and replacing it with fresh clear fluid. This procedure is called a Vitrectomy. Obviously, this is a rather serious treatment for someone who only has a few spots that occur occasionally. However, if the individual has had an extensive hemorrhage in the eye and the vision is significantly reduced, then replacement of the vitreous is a reasonable alternative.
While most of the time floaters are benign, occasionably a sudden onset of new floaters can be a sign of a more serious condition such as a retinal tear, hemorrhage or detachment. Most of the time, there is no pain involved when these are happening. The back of the eye does not have any nerves that sense pain. For this reason a person having a sudden onset of floaters may delay proper care. It is highly recommended, if there is an observable change in the numbers of floaters, you should see your Eye Doctor (Optometric Physician or Ophthalmologist) to evaluate what has happened.
The EyeCyclopedia is a collection of eye care terminology created by
practicing optometrists and ophthalmologists. The information provided is not intended
to be a substitute for regular medical care or to diagnose or treat
any medical condition, and should be used only as a supplemental source of information.
Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your eye health.