Eye floaters


What are eye floaters?

Everyone gets occasional specks in front of their eyes. These specks are known as floaters and they are especially common when looking directly at a light background, or when feeling light-headed.

What causes floaters?

Floaters are little specks of debris floating through the vitreous fluid in the eyeball. Sometimes people may momentarily confuse them with dust or tiny insects floating across in front of the eye. However, they are within the eyeball and are not eliminated by rubbing the front of the eye.

'Floaters occur within the vitreous fluid of the eyeball'.

Are they serious?

Under normal circumstances, eye floaters are absolutely nothing to worry about. Everyone experiences them from time to time and they cause no ill effects.

When should I start to get worried?

Specks in front of the eyes are normally clearly visible when looking into a light background. However, if they start becoming visible in every background, suddenly increase in number and are accompanied by any loss of vision, it is vital that immediate medical advice is sought. This could be an early sign of retinal detachment.

If the retina has become detached or has a hole in it, you will begin to experience flashing lights before your eyes and you will also be aware of numerous floaters. These two symptoms will be accompanied by a loss of vision, so urgent medical advice is necessary. Surgery is required to seal any holes in the retina, or to re-attach the retina to the back of the eyeball.

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Anonymous - 02/06/2004 09:10

I have had them all my life. I do get the flashing lights but I was putting this down to a form of migraine. My 17 year old son has floaters very bad also.

hermon(KFI11496) - 02/06/2004 15:04

Eye floaters as such are not to be worried about. But if suddenly are increased causing vision disterbance, urgent medical advise is needed. Hypertension, diabetes, retine detachment caused by trauma.

David(egandavid) - 02/06/2004 16:17

I get floaters very often, but, my vision is perfect. I think they are quite harmless.

liam(lcollins) - 04/06/2004 01:22

they are really anoying me,. and they get in the way of everything, they, are a nuicence and seem to blur things in front of me,.

Anonymous - 06/10/2004 15:29

I am very annoyed by strings of floaters when I am trying to read. Sometimes I deliberately get them to float past my centre of vision and "play around" with them, but then I wonder if this will make them worse.

catherine(PWJ18570) - 06/10/2004 19:22

How often should you have your eyesight checked?

ann(ENX13984) - 06/10/2004 21:23

Can anything be done about eye floaters?

Howard(WYX16166) - 06/10/2004 23:10

Mine usually appears when I'm reading or when I'm using the computer. It's not as bad as it was, but I'm still going to see my doctor just in case.

Philip(TTC26570) - 30/03/2005 21:42

I have a lazy right eye and want to correct it. Would conventional suregery or lasik surgery be more appropiate?

hermon(KFI11496) - 31/03/2005 18:00

Eye floaters might appear due to diabetes mellitus and ore hypertention.

susan(FFC27134) - 13/04/2005 12:34

I get eye floaters when I am looking up at the sky and if I am on the beach. it looks like a big question mark in front of my eye, I never knew what it was until now At least I will stop rubbing my eye when it happens. I cant look at lights at all however. I get black dots in front of my eyes and its so annoying.

Anonymous - 07/05/2005 02:23

I've had eye floaters for the last 25 years at least. I'm 48 but I don't worry about them anymore.

Anonymous - 07/09/2005 16:56

I've had them since I was very young. At first they frightened me and I thought I was going blind but thankfully found out they were harmless most of the time. They don't bother me now even though their always there but I don't notice them anymore except when I am tired when they seem to be worse.

Anonymous - 07/09/2005 21:22

ive had floaters since i was very young, i notice though over the years they seem to increase, i thought that they were associated with migrane/blood pressure, i was recently hospitalised with an allergic reaction to something I took (herbal tablets) and doc reckoned there was slight damage to one of my eyes, dry and sore - but its the other eye which seemed to have the heavier floaters, theyre worse with bad headaches, reading, bright light and really annoying is there nothing that can be done toget rid of them or decrease the intensity of them

chris(YVG17569) - 19/09/2005 11:14

hi in the last week my left eye lid is closeing and i get a lot of discomfort can you tell me what is the cause

Glenn(QKN34827) - 20/09/2005 18:06

Im 25 & had them as far back as I remember as 5... wouldn't be the same without them.. they're part of me.. wud actually miss em! I play round with them too. They appear wen I day-dream & read white backrounds. The shape I can describe it best is a stick with an orange at each end & a string on the right hand side.. bit like a kite... Glenn, 25 Dublin.

Lee - 01/12/2005 17:07

My floaters appeared when I was 15 just after my parents and I returned from a vacation in the Caribbean. I thought I'd picked up some sort of parasite! Oddly, I don't recall mentioning this to my mother. I get my eyes checked every year, so I know I don't have any eye diseases.

cockney - 11/01/2006 14:16

I was sent to the otician by my doctor here in London - they gave me glasses...I had migraine( i think) and jhorrible visuals, like shimmerry blanked out parts of my vision, sometimes in one eye, sometimes in both. I still have them with bad headache type pain in both eyes and sometimes my eyes feel sensitive to the light, especially in the morning...Any one recognise anything like this??

Anonymous - 30/01/2006 11:22

my floater is like a small ball of wool. I also have a small dot. I am worried about the round one that looks like ball of wool

Susan - 30/01/2006 22:12

In reply to cockneys message, i can relate to your symptoms I get shimmery blanked out vision too and bad headaches, when it happens I cannot see half of a persons face or half a word or half of anything its just invisible to me, my doctor told me it was classic migraine and I started taking Migraleave tablets when an attack comes on its helped a lot it doesnt last as long, my eyes are very sensitive to light in the morning too but I dont get pains as such in my eyes, you should talk to your doctor about that, I hope it gets better.

fifi - 31/01/2006 12:05

Ive had them since I was about 5. they are present every day. I used to like playing with them when I was younger but they are a right pain in the ass now. They are more likely to occur if I look at a bright area then look away quickly. Now I have heard horror stories of them being associated with retinal detatchment. Does anyone know any more about this condition?

dave - 18/02/2006 02:20

i got my floaters when i was 15 years old.. i lived in the philippines... when i was in college my floaters were few, just about 2-3 spots. But now, almost whole of my vision is covered by floaters. it's very alarming, i think evey day 1 floater is being added.. this is very serious problem. Now, i consulted with a specialist, but im under observation with the use of prescribed eye drops... i hop someone would help me to this eye problem, i do no have much money for medications and the last recourse, the surgery...this is a great burdensome for me..very disturbing and difinitely result into stress...

shinny - 28/04/2006 15:24

hi .. wow eye floaters .. i noticed the first ones when i was about 16 .. By the time i was 30 both eyes were covered in them --awful. People who don't have them -- to this degree-- have no idea how depressing they can be. i went to several eye specialists who all told me there was nothing wrong with my eyes and i was overreacting. It took a lot to keep persevering as i could actually see my eyes deteriorating in front of my eyes ! Then at about 30 , i also started to develop problems with my knees --again, i went to doctor etc. only to be told , several times. that it was 'just age' -- the pain was awful so bad i actually got sick --and none of my 'mates' had this 'just age' thing ! I honestly felt suicidal at times. i eventually -- in tears-- persuaded my doctor to give me name of private eye specialist and this guy in harley Street saw 'something funny' and referred me to a vitreous humour specialist in Moorfields Eye Hospital . I thought i had reached the end of the rainbow , but 'no' i had to see a junior before the consultant saw me --and he could see nothing wrong and suggested i was 'obsessed'. Jaysus ! he wasn't going to allow me through to see the consultant. I ended up kicking up an awful fuss in the hospital --they eventually got a consultant to come and passify me ( all throwing their eyes up to heaven behind me ) and this angel of a Canadian guy -- locum-- saw something wrong within a few seconds and then asked me if i had problems with my joints -- I had NEVER connected the two problems together. He diagnosed a not altogether rare syndrome called the STICKLERS SYNDROME -- which affects the collagen in the body. i sat on the steps of moorfields and cried my eyes our for nearly an hour afterwards .with this 'name' i looked up the ( blessed ) internet and began to find out about what was wrong with me. Since then my eyes and joints have continued to deteriorate as there is almost nothing besides painkillers that anyone seems to be able to do to help -- but at least i know what is wrong and have been able to make contact with others --so i don't feel as isolated as i would have if i had not persevered and had complete faith in 'professionals'.. i know that most eye floaters are 'harmless' but sometimes they are not !

Andy - 07/05/2006 23:30

Wow, that is some story shinny. I wish you all the best with your condition. Sorry to hear you're not feeling better, but it must be a relief to know what you are suffering from. I get floaters in my eyes like several people have mentioned above. However, nobody has answered the question about whether anything can be done about them? Also, do they get worse with age? Thank you.

shinny - 08/05/2006 13:05

to anonymous --posted on 7th .. if you have floaters with flashing lights now and then -- it sounds to me like you need to get your retinas checked out --risk of retinal detachment....

Gjad - 19/05/2006 13:06

Most people have floaters and apparently are harmless. If you accidently look at the sun or bright light then a very black area appears. I reckon this is not a floater but a tempory affect on the eys caused by looking at sun. If you read a lot and are finding that the "central word" in a sentece you are reading is grey coloured, then this could possible age-related macular degneration. As I am elderly my Eye Specialist recommends taking Octovite which is suppose to delay age-related macular deficiency and cataracts.

shinny - 19/05/2006 14:23

andy, as far as i know little or nothing can be done about eye floaters --if you type in a search on net, there is some doctor in florida who claims to be able to use laser to get rid of them, but i think if the treatement is so good, why isn't it more available. my consultant wouldn't advise me either way on it -- fear of litigation. but the eyes are very delicate so operations etc.. are a risky business

Jeanie - 09/07/2006 01:33

Hello to all you floater suffers! I first noticed my floater when I was around 12. Like many, I thought that it was an insect. I have found out some things that might make things easier for you. I heard that moving your eyes up and down rapidly will shake the eye-balls like a shakey ball and the floaters will fall out of your vision range. Do it often!! Also, eat lots of green leafy vegetables and take loads of lutein supplements. Lutein also found in green leafy vegetables. I recommend reading "The Eyes Have It" by Earlyne Chaney and "Do You Really Need Eyeglasses? I pray that this will help you all. May God heal each of you. Pray and believe and he will. Be Healed in Jesus Name

Clo - 27/09/2006 21:06

Hi everyone, I have had floaters for years now but I don't pay much heed. They are worst if I'm tired. Lately though I have had a very bad twitch in my left eye. The eye actually closes for a few seconds at a time and I have no control over it. My sight is fine and floaters are no worse than usual. It started quite suddenly a few weeks ago and is happening a few times an hour. Has anyone else had a problem with this.

ainebeag - 30/09/2006 02:02

Hiya, I've had floaters for years, they were always at the sides of my eyes, I used to play them up and down. I.m now 55yrs old and lately things have changed with my eyes. If I'm stressed I get side flashes, always moving upwards. I also get zigzag lines across my eyes, it gets progressively worse by the minute, I usually have to lie down. My face feels kinda stiff with it. Within a quarter of an hour its all over-but it leaves me very shaken. Anyone else experience this? Would love to share with someone.

susan(FFC27134) - 03/10/2006 01:03

Hi aine those symptoms sound very like classic migraine, I get eye floaters too but sometimes I get flashing lights zig zags and occasionally I cannot see half of a word or someones face or tv etc half is blacked out, I have to lie down when it happens and normally a bad headache follows, I went to the doctor straight away, but i read recently that any changes to floaters can be a problem with the retina in the eye, you should go and ask tell your gp about it right away dont delay.

HMMMMM - 10/04/2007 11:24

Err susan. So you have consulted a doctor? What did the doctor said to you? And did ur Floaters lessen? REPLY PLS

Anonymous - 26/04/2007 10:05

ive had eye floaters for the past few years now which seem to be getting bigger.is this something that i should be worried about?

Anonymous - 27/04/2007 06:21

One day sitting in a chair and suddenly one eye went all blurry. I got such a fright I went down to optician and then into eye hospital - thats another story! It was like the third world! Met a LOVELY doctor fron Irag who told me I had a detached vitreous. He said the 'floaters' would eventually settle around the bottom of the eye and shouldnt be so distressing. Well, they havent. I now have a wandering black dot.... I have had two experiences where in a darker room than outside and facing a person in front of strong light from a window my eyes have 'gone' like a precurser to a migraine.I get the 'works' mad flashing lights etc and can go blind completely for about 10min. No migraine develops but in the past this has happened. I have had one occassion in the bath when everything went green! I am presenting with neuro problems and tested positive for parkinsons but I personally think symptoms more like MS.

Anonymous - 31/08/2007 00:55

Those of you who are talking about seeing zig zag lines and flashes for less than an hour at a time are experiencing what is called a visual aura. It has taken years for me to be diagnosed with this. I get them right before I get a severe migraine and they last from 20 minutes to an hour at a time. This is something that has to do with the brain and not the eyes, so you need to see a neurologist to get this taken care of. I too have experienced a HUGE increase in floaters I was told by a doctor that I had no eye problems and they were due to me being pregnant. I am no longer pregnant and I still have them. They are so very annoying, I wish I could get rid of them!

Tytalus - 22/11/2007 16:28

I'm 34 and have been suffering from quite a few floaters for about 2 years. It first appeared as one of the 'transparant' ones that make you think you're loosing your sight (I had had great vision after having LASIK 5 years previous and so thought the worst). Now I have several of them in both eyes, with a usual 'string' the worst in my left eye, and a 'clump' as well as the transparrant one in the right. They appeared after an unpleasent go on a fairground ride that left me feeling sick and dizzy (and my mates excited about how the ride hadn't 'whipped' them round like that before, I knew I shouldn't have gone on it!) The Optition said that it was 'normal' for someone of my age (32!), that they would settle down, and most importantly that there was nothing else wrong with my eyes. I still feel that it was the ride that had done 'something', whether it had burst a vessel in both eyes, or just shook up what was there, I don't know, but I wish I went by my first instinct and stayed away from that ride! I too wait for a tried and tested cure.

chris - 19/02/2008 01:46

I have had them for a while, when i look up into the sky i see hundreds of them, is that bad

Ellen(MVM69630) - 14/03/2008 15:07

I'm severely short-sighted and i noticed a few floaters about 2 months ago, thought nothing of them until i went to see my optometrist and he had a look, he sent me straight down to waterford eye clinic because there was blood showing up in the pictures! Once i got to see the specialist he diagnosed vitreous detached which had busrt one of the small blood vessels in my eye whiched caused the floaters, i know have to have check-ups every few weeks, so if anyone does noticed floaters it's better to get checked out than leave it! it could be nothing but it could be serious like in my case! I'm only 23 and they're already talking about retinal detachment which is quite scary!

ian1992 - 10/05/2008 15:11

Hey, well i'm 16 and i'v been having Floaters + blurred vision, kinda scary but they Might be self inflicted due to the fact i used to play on the PC alot. it's just one floater in each eye but it makes it impossible to ignore. i'v been to the doctors he thinks it's synitious...or could be something to do with my migraines, anyone else having the same symptoms ? if so plz feel free to let me know what you do.

Elaine(ULY75008) - 01/10/2008 16:23

ive got a floater in my left eye for a while now and its starting to blur sometimes..is it time to get worried?!

dryeyevictim - 15/06/2009 21:44

does LASIK worsen floaters? since I had the op a few months ago they seem a lot worse.

pauly1 - 03/02/2010 22:45

HI, had an eye test and have been referred too a specialist because one eye has to much pressure.

what would cause this?

geno - 23/02/2010 22:40


Hi,toss your eyes skywards to clear floaters when reading. This gives temporary relief.

J-J - 11/04/2010 17:03

I have a 10 year old son who has been complaining on and off for the past few months of 'tired eyes'. sometimes he is convinced that he has something in his eye (though i can never seem to see anything) and I have bought an eye wash which seems to have no effect. For a while now I have been putting it down to tiredness as this usually happens in the evening time, but now he seems to be blinking ferociously during the day as well. He spends about 2 hours a day - 1 hour each - watching tv or exploring the internet (a crazy nat. geo. fanSurprised) He is going back to school this week and as he is being taught in a pre-fab classroom with no internal air-conditioning (only windows) does anybody think that this could be contributing to his problem??? Does anybody have any experience of this or indeed offer me any pointers as to how to handle this???

Former Blusher - 10/03/2011 14:32

I'd say if anything that not having air conditioning would be beneficial rather than harmful to your son as air conditioning tends to be quite drying. Re pointers re your son, have you considered taking him to an optician or GP to get his eyes checked, seems like the logical thing to do?

Jaak garg - 17/12/2017 16:10

I don't know if I have floters or not but I am 12 years old now and I can see dust particle in artificial lights and when background is dark I can also see them in light or in sky sometimes but other than that I can see small lighting flashes same size as dust particles .

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