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Eye Floaters

Eye floaters appear as small spots that drift through your field of vision. They may stand out when you look at something bright, like white paper or a blue sky. They might annoy you, but they shouldn’t interfere with your sight.

If you have a large floater, it can cast a slight shadow over your vision. But this tends to happen only in certain types of light.

What Are the Symptoms?

Floaters earn their name by moving around in your eye. They tend to dart away when you try to focus on them.

  • Black or gray dots
  • Squiggly lines
  • Threadlike strands, which can be knobby and almost see-through
  • Cobwebs
  • Rings

What Causes Them?

Most floaters are small flecks of a protein called collagen. They’re part of a gel-like substance in the back of your eye called the vitreous.

As you age, the protein fibers that make up the vitreous shrink down to little shreds that clump together. The shadows they cast on your retina are floaters. If you see a flash, it’s because the vitreous has pulled away from the retina. If the floaters are new or dramatically changed or you suddenly start seeing flashes, see your eye doctor ASAP.

It’s rare, but floaters can also result from:

  • Eye disease
  • Eye injury
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Crystal-like deposits that form in the vitreous
  • Eye tumors

Serious eye disorders associated with floaters include:

  • Detached retina
  • Torn retina
  • Bleeding in your vitreous
  • Inflamed vitreous or retina caused by infections or an autoimmune
  • condition
  • Eye tumors

Our Retinal Expert

sean adrean

Dr. Adrean is a specialist in the surgical and medical treatment of retinal disease. He is a board-certified ophthalmologist with advanced sub-specialty training in the management of complex retinal diseases. Dr. Adrean received his medical degree from Loma Linda University in 2000 and went on to complete his residency in ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis.

He then went on to finish his ophthalmology training with a surgical retinal fellowship at the Kresge Eye Institute at Wayne State University, where he was trained by the world’s leading experts in the treatment of retinal disease. Dr. Adrean brought this advanced knowledge and skill to Orange County in 2006.

Dr. Adrean is a leading expert in the treatment of macular degeneration and diabetic retinal disease.

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