Floaters / Spots

What are Floaters / Spots?

Spots (often called floaters) are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the eye that become noticeable when they fall within the line of sight. They often appear like cobwebs in front of the eyes and are easily visible against a white background. They may also appear with flashes of light.

Does Everyone Have Spots?

Almost everyone sees a few spots at one time or another as we usually have some from birth. They can occur more frequently and become more noticeable as you grow older. If you notice a sudden change in the number or size of spots, you should contact us right away, so you can be sure they are not the result of a more serious problem.

What Causes Spots?

The inner part of your eye is made up of a clear, jelly-like fluid known as the vitreous. Occasionally, small flecks of protein and other matter become trapped during the formation of the eye before birth and remain in the vitreous body. Spots and floaters may also be caused by the deterioration of the eye fluid or its surrounding parts, or by certain injuries or eye diseases.

What do These Spots Look Like?

Spots are generally translucent specks of various shapes and sizes. They may also appear as thread like strands or cobwebs within the eye. Since they are within the eye, they move as the eye moves and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.

Can These Spots Cause Blindness?

Most spots are normal and rarely cause blindness. But, spots can be indications of more serious problems, especially if accompanied by other disturbances in vision, and if you see them you should have a comprehensive optometric examination to determine the cause.

How are Spots Detected?

In a comprehensive eye examination, we will look into your eyes with special instruments such as a slit lamp (biomicroscope) and an ophthalmoscope. We use these instruments to examine the health of the inside of your eyes and may also observe the spots within your eye. This is often done after the doctor puts special drops in your eyes to make the pupils larger (called dilation) to allow a larger view of the inside of your eyes.