Eye Floaters

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections

Common Eye Problems and Infections

What do eye floaters look like?

People describe eye floaters as spots, straight and curved lines, strings, or "O" or "C"-shaped blobs. Some people see a single floater while others may think they see hundreds. The lines may be thick or thin, and they sometimes appear to be branched. To most people, they appear grey and darker in color than the background. The density of different eye floaters will vary within an individual eye. An eye floater may be more noticeable under certain lighting conditions and be more apparent when looking at a bright sky. Floaters are rarely seen in situations with reduced illumination.

Like fingerprints, no two people have exactly identical patterns of eye floaters. If a person has eye floaters in both eyes, the pattern of the eye floaters in each eye will be different. In any eye that has eye floaters, that pattern of eye floaters may also change over time.

Eye floaters always appear darker than the background and cannot be seen in darkness or with the eyes closed. This is unlike flashes, which often are seen in the dark and with the eyes closed.

Reviewed on 5/3/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Henry, C., et al. "Endophthalmitis following pars plana vitrectomy for vitreous floaters." Clin Ophthalmol 8 (2014): 1649-1653.

Webb, B. F., et al. "of vitreous floaters in a community sample of smartphone users." International Journal of Ophthalmology 6.3 (2013): 402-405. IMAGES:

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