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Inside the Eye

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  What are Floaters?
The eyeball is filled with a jelly-like substance known as the Vitreous. This jelly is normally completely transparent. With time the jelly starts to shrink and strands of the jelly start to join together. These strands may become visible and appear as black Floaters. Patients may also describe them as spiders, cobwebs, flies or strands in the vision.

What causes Floaters?

Ageing changes to the Vitreous Jelly are the main cause. This occurs at a younger age in people who are short-sighted (need glasses for distance vision, also known as Myopia)

Other rarer causes of Floaters are other reasons for the jelly to lose transparency. An example is a bleed into the jelly due to diabetes.

Are floaters dangerous?

As the Floaters form, the jelly may pull on the retina. The retina is the transparent layer which lines the back of the eye. If a tear develops in the retina this is serious as a retinal tear may lead to a retinal detachment and blindness.

If Floaters develop and there is no tear, the Floaters are not harmful, although they may be very annoying.





What should I do if I notice Floaters?

You should arrange for an eye check at your earliest convenience. It is important that your specialist dilates the pupils and examines the whole retina to search for a tear.

I do not have a tear in the retina, but the Floaters are very annoying. Can anything be done?

In general we advise that patients will get used to the Floaters. Surgery can be undertaken but usually only in certain situations. You will be advised by your retinal surgeon.



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