Published 16 Nov 2021

If you’ve ever looked into the distance, and seen little bits of dust floating around, you might have floaters inside your eye. These usually harmless floating obstructions are common but can result from eye damage. Learn more about what eye floaters are and how to manage them.

What are floaters?

Floaters are very small pieces of the gel-like substance in your inner-eye (called vitreous humour) that have come loose and are ‘floating’ inside your eye.

They usually appear in your vision as flecks, clumpy spots, clear bubbles, cobwebs or stringy threads. Floaters are most apparent when you are looking at a plain surface like a computer screen, light-coloured wall or the sky. When you blink or look around they appear to move or float.

Are floaters a problem?

Floaters are quite common and are usually more of a nuisance than a problem. They tend to increase with age and are present for short, irregular periods. In some cases, floaters can be evidence of retinal tears or retinal detachment. If you suddenly experience a ‘shower’ of floaters or spots on their own, or start seeing light flashes at the same time, contact your GMHBA Eye Care optometrist as soon as possible.

What causes floaters?

Floaters are caused by the breakdown of the vitreous humour, the transparent gel between the retina and the lens of your eye. This usually happens as we get older, although floaters can sometimes be the result of eye damage.



Managing your floaters

Once you have them, floaters won’t go away but there are easy ways to manage them. For example, because they float, sometimes moving your eyes back and forth or up and down can get them out of your field of vision. Floaters tend to occur more often outside so wearing sunglasses will not only make them less noticeable, they will also provide UV protection.

Floaters may be picked up during your regular eye health examination, possibly before you even notice them yourself.

Your optomitrist can help

Your optomitrist can advise you in the management of floaters. 

At GMHBA Eye Care, our focus is on helping you keep your eyes in great shape. For more information about detecting and managing floaters, book an appointment with your nearest GMHBA Eye Care practice.


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