You’re Not Seeing Things: Spots & Floaters


Floaters in the eye seem to just appear out of nowhere and can be very annoying. They can show as black spots in vision, minuscule specks or other tiny shapes. Although these eye floaters typically pose no harm, extreme cases can impair vision. If you are suddenly seeing spots and it is negatively affecting your daily life, it is important that you seek immediate treatment.

What causes floaters in the eye?

Eye floaters are those bothersome specks or string-like things that float around in your field of vision. The spots result when the vitreous gel in the eye starts to break free in the inner rear of the eye. This is a normal symptom of aging, the vitreous breaks down and begins to dissolve, becomes more liquid. However, seeing spots doesn’t happen all the time. Eye floaters are more likely to become visible after viewing a clear sky, working at length on a computer screen, or staring at a white background.

People with high myopia or severe nearsightedness are also at risk for developing eye floaters.Patients with uveitis, eye inflammation, and those who have undergone a recent intraocular surgery are also at risk for seeing spots.

Effects of Eye Floaters

If you are seeing an abundance of eye floaters, the vitreous gel may be detaching from your retina. This is a medical condition called PVD, or posterior vitreous detachment. The back lining of the eye hosts vital nutrients, oxygen, and blood essential for proper eye function. A detached retina is very bad for overall eye health. Once it starts pulling away, the gel begins to tug at the lining creating tiny tears. The vitreous seeps into the opening moving the retina out of place. This condition is known as retinal detachment and can cause severe vision loss.

Treatment for Floaters in Eyes

A Vitrectomy is the standard treatment for persistent eye floaters. This invasive eye surgery involves the removal of all or some of the eye vitreous. The surgeon will then replace the missing get with a sterile clear liquid. This does offer some risks, including surgically-induced retinal detachment. A less invasive method is vitreolysis, which is done with a laser. The laser beam destroys the largest eye floaters, rendering them less of a nuisance.