What are floaters?

Floaters are small, dark, shadowy shapes that float within the eye and are seen in the field of vision. They occur when the clear jelly inside the eye, known as the vitreous, breaks down. Lots of people have floaters and learn to live with them.

Can floaters be treated?

Sometimes, many new floaters may appear suddenly if the vitreous jelly pulls away from the retina quickly. Often this is not a problem and does not need treatment. Many new floaters and the presence of flashing lights in the field of vision may mean the jelly breaking down has created a tear in the retina. Although rare, this can lead to a retinal detachment and needs emergency treatment.

Do people of all ages have floaters?

Yes. Many people see floaters but they tend to become more common and noticeable as we get older.

What do floaters look like?

Floaters may look like tiny spots, specks, clear bubbles or threads that move whenever you move your eyes or head. They occur in one or both eyes and it is rare for a large floater to block your vision. Floaters are more noticeable when looking at a background such as a blue sky or white wall.

How can I tell if I have floaters?

Most people notice floaters and often visit the Optometrist to find out what is happening to their eyes. At an eye examination your Optometrist will check the health of your eyes. Often this is done by using eye-drops that make your pupils larger and allow the Optometrist the best possible view inside your eyes.

Can floaters cause blindness?

Most floaters are normal and rarely cause blindness. If you see floaters, you should have regular eye examinations to help maintain good vision for life.

If you notice floaters for the first time, or a change in the number of size of the floaters you normally see, you should have an eye exam. Flashing lights together with new floaters mean it is very important for you to see your Optometrist urgently.

Talk to our optometrist to help keep your eyes healthy and maintain good vision for life.