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What are eye floaters?

Eye floaters are small spots, threads and circles which appear in your field of vision. You can notice them especially if you are looking at a plain light background such as a white wall or a clear sky.


There are a number of causes of these floaters in the eye the most common of which are embryonic eye remnants. These remains float about in your eye and may stay throughout your lifetime.

As we age the vitreous jelly inside the eye becomes more liquid like and parts of it may break off and be seen as floaters in our vision.

Other possible causes of eye floaters include eye injury and as a by-product of migraine headaches.

Associated Factors

The following factors can increase the likelihood that you experience eye floaters

  • Ageing
  • Myopia/short sight
  • Eye infections such as Iritis
  • Diabetes
  • Eye surgery such as cataract removal


  • Spots and shapes appear and disappear in vision
  • Flashes of light
  • Objects moving in vision
  • Migraine type headaches

If you notice any of these symptoms or an increase in their frequency you should consult your GP or optometrist for further investigation. On examination your eye care professional will be able to diagnose the presence of floaters in the eye.

A sudden onset of floaters or a large increase in their number or size, particularly if associated with flashing lights can indicate a more serious eye condition and you should consult a medical professional as an emergency.

Regular routine eye examinations are an important part of maintaining your eye health and detecting any potential serious eye problems.

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