The deposits on the retina that cause the visibility of floaters could be the result of the degenerative changes within the vitreous humor, also known as the retina, or they could be embryonic in origin. The condition where the eye floaters are perceived is clinically referred to as myodesopsia. On observation, they are part of an entoptic aura or phenomenon that involves the appearance of shadow-like shapes. The shapes have been recorded as single and several within the sphere of vision of the subjects studied. While some report the floaters in the shape of spots and threads, some others record them as cobwebs that slowly float by.
Eeye floaters appear suspended in the vitreous humor. The vitreous humor is the thick gel-like fluid that fills the eye. Their presence results in the rapid motions of the eye while they are observed drifting slowly within the gel like fluid. It is natural for the person to focus his or her gaze on first sighting the eye floaters. However, it is interesting to note that the floaters remain within the sphere of vision on account of them following the motion of the eye! They remain within the direction of gaze and are visible only because of the fact that they are not fixed within the eye. This can be better understood by the fact that although the small capillaries or blood vessels within the eye are also known to obstruct light, they remain invisible because they are fixed within the retina.
The complex and multifaceted human brain is conditioned to ignore stabilized images. This comes from the ability of neutral adaptation and this does not occur in the case of the floaters. They are especially sighted when gazing at any blank or open surface, which is monochromal in nature. This could be a blank canvas, page, or the sky. These floaters or specks are also known to sink to the bottom of the eyeball. This sinking is irrespective of the position in which the eyeball is oriented. When looking up or lying back, the floaters tend to appear near the center of gaze. The sighting of the floaters is a common problem taken by most people to eye service clinics, according to optometrists.
Eye floaters become a nuisance and distraction in severe cases, with the spots constantly drifting within the field of vision. The shadows are projected onto the transparent vitreous humor by tiny protein structures. The floaters can also be seen on very bright days, when the eyes are closed and light penetrates the eyelids. Myopic people are also susceptible to the problem of floaters, in addition to elderly people. Many patients have also complained of the disturbance in vision due to the floaters post cataract surgery or trauma. It has been also clinically observed that in some cases the reported floaters are congenital. They refract light and subsequently temporarily cause blurred vision, till the time that the floaters float to a different area within the retina. The condition tricks the person into imagining a presence that really is not really there! While some people are successful at ignoring the floaters, many find it near impossible to ignore the masses that are constantly in view. The result is that they are unable to concentrate while reading or watching television or even driving, especially when they are tired. The shrinkage of the vitreous humor that consists of 99% water and 1% collagen, results in the collagen break down into fibrils or floaters that have plagued patients around the world.
Eye floaters need to be observed by a doctor with an ophthalmoscope. Normally, there is no treatment applicable, and vitrectomy is largely considered most successful in treating severe cases. However, the procedure is associated with the potential for subsequent complications and even blindness. Another treatment available is the laser vitreolysis technology. The laser is focused on the floater and the resultant 'burst' vaporizes it into a less dense consistency.