OHSU

Floaters

Usually caused by bits of debris in the clear gel (vitreous humor) that fills the eye, floaters often appear as spots, dots or lines that seem to drift in front of the eyes but do not block vision. Patients often describe floaters as spots, dots or little flies.

Floaters are usually benign (not serious). However, they are sometimes caused by vitreous gel separating from the retina. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Although PVDs are common, they usually do not tear the retina.

Treatment

There is no treatment for floaters, but they tend to become less annoying over time. Remember also that floaters are usually not associated with serious eye problems.

White or black spots that are permanent, or recur in the same area in your field of vision, may be an early warning sign of cataracts or another serious eye problem.

If you see a shadow or curtain over any part of your vision, this can be a sign of a retinal tear that has caused a detached retina. See an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) right away.