Floaters - What They Look Like

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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. Eye floaters 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 your eyes closed.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: flower, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 02

I have floater in left eye, oval or round and moves with eye movement. When I close my eyes and move them back and forth there is a "lightning type of flash on the far right of my left eye.

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Comment from: Mike_in_OK, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 18

Last year I had cataract surgery for both eyes and monofocal lenses installed. A year after the procedures, I have noticed large stringy floaters in my right eye along with some tiny round ones. These are a nuisance because they are always in the normal field of view instead of the periphery. I"m going to visit my optometrist next week to have my eye examined for possible retinal damage. I can only hope that isn"t the case. Perhaps these new floaters can be broken up with a YAG laser, otherwise, I may need a vitrectomy.

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