Understanding the Causes of Eye Floaters - SightMD Skip to main content

January 06, 2023

By: Sabah Shah, MD

Understanding the Causes of Eye Floaters

Image of clouds with little black squiggles floating throughout the image

You may have heard of the term “eye floaters,” but may not be sure what they mean. Or, you may have seen (literally) what appear to be small dark spots or squiggly lines moving across your field of vision. If so, your vision is experiencing eye floaters. This is no cause for concern. Many people—especially as they age—will experience eye floaters. Where do eye floaters come from?

What causes eye floaters?

As with any other changes to that take place over time, eye floaters are for the most part age-related. As a person gets older, tiny strands of vitreous—which is that gel-like fluid that fills the eye—tend to “stick” together. This then casts shadows on the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, known as “the retina.” These shadows are eye floaters.

It should be noted that although floaters are a natural development as a person ages, there are other possible causes which include infections or injuries to the eye, inflammation, bleeding, or retinal tears or detachments. Certain medical conditions also increase the possibility of developing floaters, and these may include diagnoses of diabetes, nearsightedness, or they may even be a side effect from cataract surgery.

Do eye floaters need to be treated?

The necessity to treat eye floaters depends on the degree of difficulty in being able to see. Very often, no immediate treatment is necessary, and people learn to adjust to this condition. On the other hand, if a dramatic change happens where vision is seriously affected, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible. Examples of these dramatic changes would be if a lot of new floaters—accompanied by flashes of—blurs a person’s eyesight. Or, someone may experience a dark, shadowy blocking of his or her central vision. Both instances, as stated, require immediate help and treatment from an eye care professional.

Have you been experiencing eye floaters, or has your vision gone through any noticeable changes? If you have any questions, or would like to consult with an eye care professional at SightMD, click or call today.