Home Disorders Eye Disorders Eye floaters-why does it happen

Eye floaters-why does it happen

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What these eye floaters

Eye floaters or deposits for condensation in the vitreous. It is also known as vitreous humor, vitreous fluid or vitreous gel. Vitreous is the material that fills the posterior part of the eye. Anyone suffering from this problem will see spots within their vision that move or float when they look around.

Why do you notice an eye floater?

Your eyes have retina or the light-sensitive tissue lining the inside of the eye. The cornea and lens focuses rays of light onto the retina. When the light reflecting from different objects are focused onto the retina, then we see those objects. Before going to the retina the light passes through the vitreous humor, which is a jellylike material and that occupies the back two thirds of the eye. The vitreous gel is generally totally clear and transparent, especially during at birth and childhood years, but later in life, liquid pockets, deposits and strands may develop within the vitreous gel. Because of the change in the density of this gel may cause a small shadow onto the surface of the retina. The shadows are generally perceived by the patient as eye floaters.

The eye floaters are generally light black to gray. When the eye moves from side to side or up and down, such deposits, strands or pockets also move from one position to another within the eye and because of that the patient feel as if the shadows are moving and floating.

Causes of eye floaters


Eye floaters may result from any eye condition where the clarity of the vitreous humor is altered. As you get older, there will be some changes which will happen normally within the vitreous humor. The vitreous gel of your eyes may naturedly undergo some liquefaction and because of that some small pockets may appear within the gel. This is known as vitreous syneresis.

When there are many liquid pockets, the boundary between each liquid pocket and the gel may be noticeable to the individual in the form of eye floaters. Also, with age the collagen fibres within the vitreous normally become thickened and denser and that can result in eye floaters. People who are over the age of 50 are likely to have some such changes. The degree of eye floaters may vary from person to person.

With age the gelatinous structure begins to shrink within the space. Because of such shrinkage the back surface of the vitreous may move forward within the space. The vitreous is normally attached to the innermost tissue of the eye or the retina, at its posterior aspect at the edges of the optic nerve. When the vitreous shrinks, that attachment to the optic nerve may release and that attachment can float within the eye. In that case also the patients will see eye floaters which are very large and circular in shape.

In some other cases back surface of the vitreous that are floating within the eye can also cast shadows onto the retina and that may also produce I floaters. The shrinkage and pulling away at the back of the vitreous is known as posterior vitreous detachment or posterior vitreous separation. It is more common in people who are over 50. It is seen that about 50% of 65-year-olds may suffer from this problem in one or both eyes.

References 1. Eye Floaters No More
2. Floaters
3. Vitreous Floaters