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Floaters

Floaters are shadows or dark objects that "float" across your field of vision. Floaters may appear as dark specks, strings, or cobwebs that float through the eye.

Many people begin to see floaters as they get older and their eyes age. If floaters have been present before, or if they occur with a diagnosed migraine headache, this condition is usually not serious. They are usually caused by tiny bits of solid tissue that collect in the thick fluid that fills the center of the eye (vitreous gel), blocking light to the retina.

Sudden development of floaters or black dots may mean that a retinal blood vessel has broken and is bleeding into the middle of the eye. This condition, called vitreous hemorrhage, results from the vitreous gel tugging on the retina. It may also be a sign of a serious retinal tear, which requires immediate medical attention.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology
Last Revised August 7, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.