The eye is filled with a gel like substance (called the vitreous humour) through which light passes to the retina (which is situated at the back of the eye). The retina translates the information received and sends it to the brain. If the vitreous humour contains an opacity, then the light path is interrupted, a shadow is cast over the retina and this is interpreted as a dark speck or floater. In a similar way, when the vitreous gel in the eye gradually becomes more watery with age, some gel may be left in a streaky suspension. The eye will interpret these streaks as a cobweb type of image. Others have described these images as threads, clumps or spots.
Floaters are the presence of particles within the vitreous, which is the gel that forms the bulk of the eye. These visual disturbances can appear suddenly and can be quite alarming. Floaters tend to become more prominent with age and often affect short-sighted people earlier in life. If you notice a sudden increase in floaters, particularly in conjunction with a flash of light like a camera flash, please immediately make an appointment with us for a dilated pupil examination.