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Vitreous Floaters

What Are Vitreous Floaters?

New onset of floaters or new change in floaters should always be evaluated with a dilated exam to rule out the risk of Retinal tears, retinal detachment, or bleeding in the eye. When not associated with other, more serious problems, “Floaters” are generally benign tiny gray or black spots that seem to weave in and out of your line of vision. Floaters can look like strings, circles, “O” shapes, or even cobwebs. Although they rarely interfere with your vision, floaters can be annoying or distracting, especially if they appear in front of an expanse of light color like a white wall or computer screen.

Floaters can appear in one eye or both. If they’re in both eyes, one eye may have more floaters than the other and their movements may be different.

If floaters are passing through your line of vision more frequently, are getting larger, have appeared all of a sudden or seem to be multiplying, speak to your eye doctor as soon as possible. Also, seek medical attention if you begin to experience flashes of light, start having eye pain, or lose some of your sight as these can be signs of a serious medical condition such as a Retinal Detachment.

Floaters mostly go away over time, but they can be replaced with new ones. Most people get used to them and only notice them occasionally. If floaters are interfering with your vision, an ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to remove them. Overall, most established floaters are harmless and do not require surgery, but always check with your doctor if you are concerned.