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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