Floaters are spots in your vision that drift about when you move your eyes around, and typically look like cobwebs, worm-like strings, or small specks, and can be translucent grey or black in colour. These tend to be more obvious when looking at a brighter plain colour like a beige wall or the white background on a desktop monitor.
This is usually caused due to normal age-related degeneration, as the vitreous or jelly in the eyeball becomes more liquid and having less consistency over time, leading to shadows behind cast on your retina. However, other factors such as bleeding in the vitreous can also exhibit the same symptoms.
Risk factors for floaters include an old age, high myopia, trauma to the eye, as well as diabetes.
You can take note of the number of floaters in each eye by covering the other eye with the palm of your hand.
You should see an eye doctor immediately when you see:
- floaters in an eye that didn’t have floaters before
- a significant increase in the number of floaters
- flashes, bursts, or spots of light
- a line or jagged streak of light
- a dark shadow, curtain, or restriction in your field of view
The above symptoms are indicative of sudden changes in the vitreous, traction or pulling on the retina, retinal tear, and retinal detachment. They are painless, but should be evaluated by an eye doctor immediately.