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FLOAT ON: What are “eye floaters” and why do I have them?

Floating Eye Balls

Almost everyone has seen one: a transparent blob in the corner of your eye that moves with your vision. It’s no cause for panic, it’s a totally normal phenomena that is almost always benign. If you look at a clear sky or a blank computer screen, you may see several more of these shapes, spots of light or movements that are not normally visible. The fact is they are always there, our brains are just efficient at filtering out unnecessary information. Known as eye floaters, the medical term is muscae volitantes— Latin for “hovering flies” and they are very normal part of life. Read on for the Vision Gallery’s crash course on the fascinating cause of eye floaters.

SEEING SPOTS

When your vision produces a floater, there is nothing in front of your eye– all of the action is behind the scenes! The human eye contains fluid between the lens and the retina, which can contain protein clumps, blood cells or other tissue. The free movement of this fluid and the objects within are a natural cycle. Occasionally the objects move near the back of the eye and show up as shadows or shapes otherwise known as floaters.

FLASHING LIGHTS

Little, quick-moving spots of light are also a common phenomenon that is easily explained. The retina’s surface contains many tiny capillaries to circulate blood. Within this vascular system, groups of cells bunch together and force a collection of clear plasma to build-up. Light passes through the plasma and we are treated to an itty-bitty light show, most commonly seen when looking at a clear blue sky.

DON’T PANIC

Many people have floaters, but rarely notice them– if they catch their attention, it might seem like cause to worry. Don’t panic! Eye floaters are almost never the first indication of a serious problem, but they can be associated with more serious issues. Vision loss, pain, sudden changes or worsening associated with eye floaters should all be reported to a medical professional like the optometrists here at the Vision Gallery.

If you have any concerns about eye floaters, contact or visit us today! Our years of experience, customer service and treatment will help us give you peace of mind.

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