Eye floaters

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Definition

Alternative Names

Specks in the eye

Information

The floating specks you sometimes see in front of your eyes are not on the surface of your eyes, but inside them. These floaters are bits of cellular debris that come and go without treatment. To some people, these "floaters" look like spots. To others, they look like tiny threads.

Most of the time they are nothing to worry about, but sometimes they can be a symptom of a tear in your retina. The retina is the clear tissue at the back of your eye. If you notice a sudden increase in floaters or if you see floaters along with flashes of light, this may be a symptom of retinal detachment. Call your eye doctor.

If you have other vision disturbances, see vision abnormalities.

References

Crouch ER Jr, Crouch ER, Grant T. Ophthalmology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 53.

Crouch ER Jr, Crouch ER, Grant TR Jr. Ophthalmology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 41.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 10/22/2011
  • Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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This page was last updated: April 14, 2014

         
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