Eyes - floaters
Floaters are small lines or shapes moving across your line of vision. They are so called as they are clumps of cells and debris floating in the vitreous fluid in the chamber of the eye. They are most commonly seen if you are looking at a blank wall, or maybe when reading a book or looking at a computer screen.
For most people, floaters get more frequent as they grow older. The vitreous fluid thickens and clumps as we age, and floaters result from the clumped vitreous gel. In most instances, they are annoying as they seem to follow your vision around, but they are not harmful and usually settle.
Rarely they may herald a detached retina, particularly if they are numerous and of sudden onset. They may also be accompanied by sudden flashes of light. You should definitely seek medical attention if you get a lot of floaters, or flashing lights. Any sudden disturbance of vision should be medically assessed.
This article published on
28 November 2005
Next review date 11/1/2013
Eyes, ears, nose, throat