Floaters are commonly seen as small dark spots or lines that appear to float around in front of your eyes. If you are short-sighted
you are more likely to see floaters. It is also more likely that you’ll see floaters as you get older. If the floaters have been there for some time, your brain will learn to ignore them so that you don’t notice them. In the majority of cases, floaters are harmless. Some people are born with floaters and in other cases, they occur as you get older when the gel inside the eye (known as the vitreous humour) naturally shrinks.
Occasionally, floaters can indicate a problem inside the eye. It is possible for the gel inside the eye to shrink enough that it begins to pull at the retina (the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye). This is referred to as a Posterior Vitreous Detachment. In some cases, the retina can begin to detach. A retinal detachment is sight-threatening therefore you must contact your Optometrist straight away if you suddenly notice floaters in your vision or you notice a sudden increase in the number of floaters. Other symptoms that require immediate attention are flashes of light in the periphery of your vision or a greying of vision.
If you are unable to seek immediate assistance from your Optometrist, you should seek advice from your local eye casualty department.