Eye Health

Updated 15 March 2018

What are those things floating in your eye?

Ever wondered about those tiny floating particles in your eye? Watch this video and find out what they are and why they exist.

Have you ever wondered about the small particles that can sometimes been seen floating across your field of view?

Especially when you are looking at a bright image or a solid white background, such as the sky on a cloudless day or your computer screen when it’s blank?

What are these moving objects, and what causes you to see them?

Small dots in your vision

The tiny dots in your field of vision are called eye floaters. They may look like grey fragments of dust, cobwebs or little strings that drift about as your eyes move, and then float away as suddenly as they appeared when you try staring at them.

Watch: What are those floaty things in your eye? - by Michael Mauser

Related to ageing

This mostly occurs due to ageing which takes place as the vitreous (jelly contents) inside the eye becomes more like a liquid, according to

Read: What is the normal way in which the eyes work?

The minute fibres inside the vitreous tend to become thicker over time, which casts small shadows on the retina of your eye. These appear to the human eye as floaters.

If you notice an increase in the amount of times you see eye floaters, it would be wise to contact your optometrist or an eye specialist immediately – especially in the case of flashes of light or if you start losing your peripheral vision.

Read: Sunlight increases cataract and glaucoma risk

These can be signs of an emergency that requires immediate care.

Read More:

African Americans at greatest risk for vision loss

Glaucoma drug may help obesity-related vision loss

High blood pressure may affect colour vision

Image: Woman with beautiful hair and blue eyes from Shutterstock


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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