Have you ever experienced a spot in your field of vision? This is often referred to as eye floaters. In most cases these floaters will appear in your field of vision when you look at something bright such as a white screen or the sky. These are spots that you can see and appear to float as you look around. Eye floaters can be present in one or both eyes.
Floaters are caused by strands, deposits, or liquid pockets developing on the vitreous humor, or the back part of the eye. This is the part of the eye that the light going to the retina passes through. It is a jelly like material that occupies the back two-thirds of the eye.
When the light is blocked by these strands, deposits, or liquid pockets, it casts a small shadow onto the surface of the retina, and the shadows that result are seen as floaters. They are usually black or gray in color. These shadows appear to move as the eye moves, left, right, up and down. This is why patients often say that they see a dot or spot floating in their field of vision.
Floaters are most commonly experienced as we age. About 50% of people who are age 60 have floaters and most people over the age of 70 experience some sort of floater. While many people notice them at first, they may find that after a few months they are less noticeable as the brain and eye begin to ignore or get used to them being there.
While floaters are common, and most people will experience them, it is important to get your regular check up with your eye doctor. In some rare cases a floater can be linked to eye tumors including lymphoma and leukemia. These are however extremely rare. If you see a shower of floaters and spots, especially if they are accompanied by flashes of light, you should seek medical attention immediately from an eye care professional.
Be sure to maintain your routine visit to your optometrist and tell them if you notice any changes in your eyesight, such as floaters. Grab those sunglasses, get out and enjoy summer!
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.