They look like small specks, dots, circles or cobwebs that seem to move around within your field of vision in one or both eyes. Floaters are usually perceived more easily while reading, looking at the sky or at an empty wall.
Along with the natural process of aging, the vitreous body or the gel that fills the eyeball contracts and it can detach from the retina in some parts without damaging your vision. Floaters are proteins or very small vitreous particles that get condensed when the detachment from the retina occurs.
They seem to be in front of the eye, but in reality they are floating in the vitreous inside the eye. Not always do floaters interfere, however, when they pass by in front of the sight line they block the light and project shadows over the retina.
Floaters are more frequent in people over 45 years old, people that has myopia, after a cataract surgery, YAG laser or those that had swollen eyes in the past.
Are floaters grave?
The floaters that a person sees for a lot of years without any disturbance, generally, are not grave. Although, sometimes, when the vitreous detaches, it rips the retina in one or more major points of adherence reaching a blood vessel causing bleeding. When this happens, the blood clots and/or vitreous fluid can appear as new floaters and be a symptom of a serious problem.
The seriousness of the symptoms can be only determined when the patient is examined by an ophthalmologist. For this reason, if you’ve gotten floaters suddenly you should be evaluated.
wHAT ARE FLASHES?
When the vitreous pulls the retina it can cause flashes, these flashes don’t have a definite shape and can or can’t be related to eye floaters.
Flashes are more frequently observed during the night or in dark spaces, they last a few seconds and can be repetitive.
Sudden flashes are associated with new floaters or a shadow in the field of vision can be a symptom of retinal detachment, therefore an ophthalmologist should examine it immediately.
Sometimes flashes are associated with migraines (headaches caused by spasms of the blood vessels in the brain) These flashes can distort central vision for 10 to 20 minutes and appear as cut lines, usually in both eyes, followed by migraines. Every now and then, the cut lines can appear without any headaches afterwards, this is known as ophthalmic migraine. Migraines can be prevented with treatment and are very common.