What Causes Eye Floaters?

What Causes Eye Floaters

If you’ve never had this phenomenon, eye floaters are little weird shaped objects that show up in your vision, especially when you look at bright light like a blue sky. The shapes vary greatly, but usually show up as spots, cobwebs, or randomly shaped stringy objects. They aren’t optical illusions, but are something your eyes are actually perceiving. There are some different things that might cause this, and usually eye floaters are created by pieces of the gel-like vitreous coming off from the back part of your eye and then floating around in your eye ball.

The vitreous humor, also just called “vitreous”, is a clear gel that fills the area between your retina and lens, letting you maintain the round shape of your eye. This gel’s about 99% water and 1% other elements; mostly of a network of hyaluronic acid and collagen. Hyaluronic acid ends up retaining water molecules, but over time, this breaks down which makes the hyaluronic acid release its trapped water molecules. When this occurs, it creates a watery core in your vitreous body.

As you age, parts of the still gel-like collagen/hyaluronic acid network break off and float around in this watery center. When light comes through this area, it makes a shadow on your retina. The shadow is what you are actually seeing when you notice the eye floaters.

Children and teenagers rarely ever get these types of eye floaters as there has to first be some deterioration of the gel-like substance in their eye, generating the watery core, for floaters to show up. Though, they do still sometimes get a certain type of eye floater that usually shows up more like a crystallized web across their vision. These floaters are not found in the vitreous humor like the above floaters. These are found in the Premacular Bursa area, at the top of the retina. These floaters are very tiny in size and just appear as big as they do due to the proximity to the retina. The microscopic size makes it almost impossible to treat in most of the cases.

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