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If you see a shadowy spot or shape pass in your field of vision, you may be seeing something that is commonly known as a floater, or a spot.

Don’t panic – most floaters are small, harmless clumps of gel that occur when the vitreous inside your eye becomes more liquid. They usually appear when tiny pieces of the vitreous breaks loose within the inner portion of the eye.

Who Gets Floaters?

Some floaters appear at birth and continue on as part of the development of the eye. Others occur over time and may change as the person gets older.

Floaters are more prevalent among people who have had laser eye surgery or cataract surgery, have had inflammation inside the eye, or in those who are simply near-sighted.

What Do They Look Like?

Parts of the vitreous form strands in the eye. This is because the vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, causing posterior vitreous detachment, or PVD.

Miniscule fibres within the vitreous tend to clump and cast tiny shadows on your retina, which appear to be floating, hence the name.

What to Do?

Sometimes, you may not even notice that you have a floater in your eyes. When you have a complete eye exam, your eye doctor may be able to detect them for you.

Removal of floaters and spots from the eye is done by a vitrectomy surgery, where the vitreous and its contents are removed from the eye and replaced with clear fluid. Because of the serious complications, surgery is not recommended except in rare cases.

If you see a lot of floaters and spots, accompanied by flashes of light, you should seek medical attention immediately from an eye care professional.

And while floaters are commonplace for most people, it is important to see your optometrist on a regular basis.