Who Put Those Lines in Front of My Vision

You’re lost in thought, gazing off into the blue California sky when you don’t notice the sky, you notice the squiggly lines, spots, or cobwebs floating about seemingly in front of your eyes. You’ve seen them before, but the question is, “What are they and should I be worried about them?”

What you’re seeing are floaters, and just about three-quarters of people see them. Usually, they’re harmless and don’t need any attention, but in some patients, they could be a sign of vitreous detachment.

Here’s the deal on floaters from the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group.

What Causes Floaters?

Floaters look like they are in the front of your eyes, but they are shadows cast by objects suspended in the clear, gel-like substance that makes up the vitreous humor, which is the majority of what’s in your eye’s interior. The vitreous helps maintain the eye’s round shape.

You see floaters because focused light passes through the lens of your eye heading for the back of the eye, the retina. The retina has photosensitive cells called rods and cones that take the light energy and convert it into signals that are carried to the brain by the optic nerve. The problem is before the light gets to the retina it has to pass through the vitreous, where the globs and lines are floating around. So the light passes through and creates shadows.

Floaters are normally clumps of protein in the vitreous gel. These stringy clusters look like transparent circles, worms, tadpoles, or whatever your imagination makes them out to be. They are a permanent part of your eye, once clumped together.

More Floaters with Age

Just as you have more aches the older you get, so it is with floaters. As we age, the vitreous gel shrinks. As it pulls away from the retina, bits of debris can enter the gel and become new floaters. These floaters look like cobwebs.

Regular Exams Make Sure They’re Just Floaters

While most floaters are just a part of being human, sometimes they can point to more serious retinal problems such as holes, tears, or detachment. That’s why it’s important to get regular eye exams, probably yearly after you hit 55 or so. We have special instruments that can look at the retina and the vitreous to distinguish between the harmless globs of protein and more serious issues.

Schedule a Consultation

Do think you have new floaters? Or you see persistent flashes? You should probably come in and see us at Central Valley Eye Medical Group so we can check your eyes. Call us at (800) 244-9907 to make an appointment.

Posted in: Flashes & Floaters

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