Age 30 and Younger

If you are young and suffer from annoying, dark, moving shadows in your vision, please read this section carefully. It contains important information about the prognosis for treatment and safety issues that are common to the younger age group that loosely describe as younger than 30 years of age. After reading this page, I also suggest you read the Frequently Asked Question about Floaters in Young People.

Most of the patients we successfully treat here at Vitreous Floater Solutions are over the age of 45 and have suffered some of the ravages of the aging process to include the breakdown of the vitreous fluid. In some ways it is like the generalized breakdown of collagen elsewhere (sagging skin and wrinkles). With aging, structural changes will occur: The vitreous will thicken and dehydrate and get cloudy in some areas, and liquify in other areas.

Younger people rarely experience these diffuse, generalized changes in the vitreous. Our examination in younger patients more often reveals overall very healthy eyes and overall quite clear vitreous fluid. The floaters in younger people tend to be microscopic, dense, and most important, they are almost always within 0.5-3.0 millimeters from the retina. They are very difficult to see, and sometimes they are below the optical resolution of our ability to see them despite the most diligent and motivated efforts!

distribution of eye floatersThis graph approximates the distribution of patients who have come in for evaluation in our office. This is a self-selected population and not meant to represent the distribution of eye floaters in the general population. The majority of patients seen by us are over 40 years of age (the blue curve above). Of the younger group of patients (red curve) we can safely and successfully treat only about 10-20%.

The below illustration set is a nice example of some of the difficulty and challenge of treating younger patients. A 26 year old male had seen at least two eye doctors. There was conflicting conclusions as one doctor told the patient he had had a “partial” posterior vitreous detachment and the other said nothing specific. On my exam, I initial saw nothing of any significance in either eye. Upon very close scrutiny, I found this small, dense vitreous condensation approximately 0.5mm from the retina. With appropriate magnification we can see a fine vertical strand that tethers the floater in place which correlates quite nicely with the patient’s drawing. There is much more that the patient is seeing that I am unable to see despite the most motivated effort on my part. For explainable reasons, the patient will ALWAYS see more than the doctor. This patient was not treatable as the laser can not safely treat this close to the retina. This is an all to common scenario for those under the age of 30-35.

floater located very close to the retina

Younger patients bothered by moving shadows in their vision often describe very distinct, hard-edged, lines and dots that move around much like vitreous floaters. We have nick-named some of them “crystal worms” because of their refractile, and glass-like appearance. They tend to be seen in the central vision region. For the patient population that visit our office, we find these moving shadows occur mostly in young men in their twenties through early thirties. They are still described occasionally in the third decade and very rarely occur in the 40 and older population.

Here are some actual pictures some of our patients have drawn in their effort to describe them to us:

young patient's drawing of floateryoung patient's drawing of floateryoung patient's drawing of floateryoung patient's drawing of floateryoung patient's drawing of floater
These “moving shadows” were ultimately either barely visible, invisible to the doctor, or otherwise not good candidates for treatment. Note how they are very accurately drawn with very distinct shapes, lines and balls or knobs. These also tend to be seen well even when the pupil is dilated whereas floaters in the mid-position of the eye nearly disappear when the pupil is dilated (in dim light naturally, or when dilating drops are administered).

Regardless of your age, type or location of vitreous densities, you do not actually “see” the floater. You see the SHADOW that is cast onto the retina. The closer the object is to the retina, the most defined and distinct the shadow will be.

As in the case of most younger people with floater symptoms and in all of the illustrations above, the shadows are very defined and distinct. We can infer that the source of the shadows lie closer to the retina rather than closer to the lens and cornea. In fact no object near the lens or cornea (or even in the middle part of the eye) can cast a distinct well-defined shadow.

Small, thin, well-defined moving shadows are almost always very close to the retina. If they are too close to the retina they cannot be safely treated.

So on examination we expect to find something very close to the retina. Finding these floaters can be very challenging. Dr. Johnson has described it as “as looking for a strand of fiberglass, in a pool, at night, with a flashlight”. If we are lucky, with a narrow beam of light we may get lucky and see a slight reflection of light on something small. Very often, with young people we simply cannot see anything. Anywhere. The vitreous will be crystal clear.

microscopic eye floater on retina

Here is a rarely seen or photographed image of a microscopic vitreous density sitting right on the surface of the retina. It is only seen with great magnification and narrow slit beam retro-illumination. Most doctors would not find this floater with a typical examination. Dr. Johnson spent about 15 minutes looking in this area before getting the lighting and angle just right. This floater is not treatable as it is too close to the retina.

Here is a rarely photographed microscopic vitreous density sitting right on the surface of the retina. It is only seen with great magnification and narrow slit beam retro-illumination. Most doctors would not find this floater with a typical examination. Dr. Johnson spent about 15 minutes looking in this area before getting the illumination and angle just right. This floater was unfortunately not treatable.

How is it the patient can see the shadow so clearly and the doctor can’t see the source? People can see shadows as small as a red blood cell. For the doctor to see it, he has to shine a light into the eye and reflect light off this microscopic, low contrast, semi-translucent object. The reflected light must pass back through the patient’s vitreous fluid > the lens > the aqueous fluid > the cornea > a thick, diagnostic contact lens > several lens elements of the microscope > 2 mirrors > a few more lens elements > the doctor’s cornea > aqueous > lens > vitreous > and finally be imaged by the doctor’s retina. There are many layers of optical degradation in this process. If your doctor can’t see your floater, they may not be trying hard enough, or they simply may not be able to!

Regardless of how much these distinct shadows may bother the patient, there are safety issues that may prevent treatment. The use of the YAG laser is an adaption of an already available and FDA approved laser. It is an adaption to focus the laser and apply the energy to the vitreous chamber instead of near the front of the eye when treating post-cataract surgery issues. The laser can only be adapted so far, and treating too close to the retina is not safe. Here and elsewhere on this web site we have tried to give general guidelines to help determine if someone might be eligible for treatment. We have described how floater may appear differently to the patient depending on how close or far it may be from the retina. Ultimately, it is very difficult to determine without examining it here in person.

We have not found it very helpful to depend on another doctor’s assessment and evaluation of the floaters. Your local doctor may confidently see some vitreous condensation in the middle (and treatable) part of the vitreous. What they may not be able to assess is whether or not what THEY see is the same as what YOU are seeing. We recently had a young man in his mid-twenties who was reassured by his very well qualified local eye surgeons that they could see his floaters and they were in a very treatable area in the middle of his vitreous. This young man flew several thousand miles at no small expense with high expectations for treatment success. Dr. Johnson saw what this patient’s doctor’s had seen, but Dr. Johnson also found a small cluster of vitreous condensations approximately 0.5mm away from the retina. It was Dr. Johnson’s final assessment that the mild vitreous condensations that the other doctors saw were not responsible for his symptoms. Ultimately he was not considered a candidate for treatment. It was a major disappointment for this young man and another humbling realization that the laser can not treat all floaters.

Over the last 4 years, we have become less aggressive and in fact somewhat pessimistic when communicating with younger patients. We will highlight it here:

“If you are under the age of 35 or so, your chances of a successful treatment of your floater-like symptoms using the laser are greatly diminished. Adjust your expectations appropriately.”

There are a few occasional exceptions and so we do not refuse appointments for evaluation and consultation from younger patients.Whether it is worth it for you to travel to see Dr. Johnson (or one of the few other doctors proficient with the later procedure) is a question we can not answer for you. It depends on the distance you must travel and whether it will be of some value to definitively know where your floaters are located and whether or not you are a candidate for treatment with the YAG laser and to take that chance that you may be of the smaller percentage of young patients that are indeed treatable.
Read more here: FAQ’s for Young People with Floaters


Please do not use the comments section to leave personal contact information or detailed personal medical information. Keep it to comments, questions, or stories that will benefit other readers and floater sufferers. If you do have personal questions or requests, please go to the Email Dr. Johnson Page.

450 Responses to Age 30 and Younger

  1. Thomas says:

    Dear Dr Johnson,

    I have a question about this graph: http://vitreousfloatersolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/distribution.jpg.
    Looking at the red curve, is see that for some reason the relative incidence of floaters in the posterior area of the vitreous is decreasing.

    On wikipedia I read something similar:
    “(…). Floaters in teenage patients and young adults are usually harder to treat. For persons in this age group, the floater that is seen usually looks like a kind of translucent worm/web/cell. These particular floaters aren’t really floaters in a technical sense as they aren’t found in the vitreous humour, instead they are found right on top of the retina in the premacular bursa. Very little is known about this region, and it only becomes distinct after the vitreous humour detaches from the retina at later stages of life. Due to their microscopic size they cannot be seen by doctors. They only appear as big as they do because of their proximity to the retina. This type of floater is still described occasionally in the third decade and very rarely occurs in the 40 or older population.[9][10]”

    Do you have an idea why these type of floaters are only “very rarely described” in the 40 or older population? Can I deduce from this that, because they seem to appear more often in 20 year old people than they do in 40 year old people, that they disappear when growing older? Or is something else happening?

    • I can only observe what I have seen in my practice and what happens to walk through my office door. It is a self-selected population that may not actually represent the natural distribution in the wild. It may be that older patients have lived with them longer and after being told by multiple doctor over the course of many years that nothing can be done, they accept it and do not continue asking about it or going on the internet looking for other possible solutions. It may be that older patients have other physical maladies and are more willing to accept that yet another bodily disruption has occurred and may just accept it. It may be that these microscopic floater may just have to move a couple millimeters away from the retina to optically “disappear” or become less bothersome. It may also be that with some younger patients, this is a very new phenomenon and possibly the first time anything has ever gone wrong with their body’s anatomy, physiology, and/or function. No one has bothered to study the natural history of floaters in younger people and so all of this is just conjecture. I’m open to any better explanations.

  2. Geovanny Carrillo says:

    Hi Dr Johnson. First of all I would like to THANK YOU for such an informative article. I am 30 years old and I was detected with eye floaters in my left eye just 6 days ago. I must recognize this was very scary when I saw them for the first time.

    I went to the ophthalmologist and I was evaluated, apparently my vision is still good, even when my left eye sees differently (like somebody were smoking or when you take a shower with hot water and vapor shows up). The doctor just said this was something that could be “gone” in the following days. He sent me the eye drops called ILEVRO (nepafenac ophthalmic suspension .3%) and I’m supposed to put the drops in my left eye twice per day. The doctor just said I should use them until the 0.8ml sample is empty. He didn’t send me any other eye drops. During the whole time I was there, my eye was dilated and the doctor was examining my eye in all the ways possible. He ended up saying he could see a scar on my left eye that I probably got when I was a kid.

    Just now I could finally find the answers to all of my questions after leaving the clinic. Now I know this could not be treated since the floaters could be very close to the retina. I do respect the doctor’s opinion since I truly believe in the professionalism they have, and this doctor in particular was one of the best eye doctors of the clinic I visited.

    I have a couple of questions for you, if you don’t mind answering them. My work keeps me in a front of a computer all the time, how could this affect the floaters I am seeing?

    I must recognize I have been having a very tough time with my family members passing through very delicate health issues and the stress has been consuming me in all ways, how does the stress affect these floaters?

    If I have floaters in my left eye, will my right eye see floaters as well eventually?

    The reason why I ask these questions is because I have noticed that new floaters have been showing up suddenly, and sometimes I have a pain in the back of my eye, and I am not sure if it is my mind but I feel like the stress and the computer usage is affecting me in some way.

    I know by my family medical history that my parents are diabetic and they both have liver problems, and my father has high blood pressure, is this related to this issue with eye floaters? Should I consider this just to take care of myself (I know it is something that everybody should do anyway) by eating food with less sugar or not being that stressed?

    Thank you VERY much for the time given to this message. I really appreciate it.

    • Unless you have an actual, active, inflammatory condition of the eye, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication your were prescribed should not have any effect. It is much like prescribing antibiotics for the common cold (caused by rhinovirus). People swear that by taking antibiotics their cold symptoms got better after a few days. People go to the doctor and expect to get “something” more than just the recommendation for rest and fluids. As far as using your eyes at the computer or any other vision-intensive activity, there should be no effect. Stress can affect many systems of the body, but the vitreous has no living cells or receptors for the stress hormone like cortisol, so your condition should not be affected by stress, either. It certainly can’t hurt to eat healthy and exercise.

  3. anu says:

    i see floater one in both the eyes while i move my eyes does it go by itself

  4. Josh says:

    Hi doctor,
    I’m sorry if this comment doesn’t go into to much detail, but I am 14 years old. About 3 years ago, I scratched the Corniea in my right eye. The reason I bring this up is that on a different website, while I was looking for information on floaters, it said that people who have already had an eye injury are more prone to retinal detatchment. That being said, I get floaters in my right eye, mildly about every other day. Now, I don’t think its too serious, but I’d like some input on whether or not I should look into this more. Thank you.

    • Mild corneal abrasions are common and usually heal perfectly. The association of floaters and trauma are with significant trauma that grossly distorts the globe, and/or is associated with bleeding or inflammation. A high velocity racquetball or tennis ball or elbow thrust to the eye, that sort of thing.

  5. Alex says:

    Dr
    Can change in eye pressure cause floaters?

  6. Christopher G says:

    I am 14, and i just got them 2 months ago. Its terrible for me, because i study at an IT school.
    I have a codeweb like floater, i pretty much see them everywhere. Is a Codeweb Floater treatable or not? Where could i check my floaters? My doctor only told me i have them, but he didnt really look at them..

    • I think you are referencing what I and others have called a “cobweb floater”- very thin strands. These are very difficult to find on examination because they may be much thinner than a strand of human hair. The instruments we typically use to examine the eye are not ideal for this purpose and the difficulty is compounded by the fact that they are often more posterior in the eye making them more difficult to find. Your doctor may have confidently made the diagnosis of floaters without actually having to see and identify them. Where can you have them checked out? Well, any eye care provider “should” be able to find them, but it is a bit of a specialty. Based on your age, I would bet that your floaters are likely too close to the retina to safely and successfully treat. I will not turn anyone away from my office for evaluation, but the laser is not likely going to be an answer for you.

  7. Ray says:

    Dr J
    Can Change in the eye refraction affect how we see floaters? Cuz as light enters the eye it reaches a focal point . If the focal point changes due to the cornea’s function or shape of the eye , etc , is it possible that the floaters become less noticeable as focal point’s location may also change?

    • Your awareness of the moving shadows is affected by many optical characteristics: size of floaters, antero-posterior location, central vs. peripheral location, stability vs. mobility, density vs. translucency, size of pupil and amount of ambient light, personality type and characteristics, ambient background homogeneity, etc. The focal point of the focusing of the eye (e.g. amount of refractive error) probably has the most minimal influence and effect. People will sometimes ask this is they are contemplating getting corneal refractive surgery – wondering if they will see their floaters more or less after the procedure. It probably will have little or affect.

  8. Kev says:

    What do floaters due to blood cell look like? Cobweb?
    Can u post a pic of it plz?
    Thanks

    • Blood cells are small and round and cast small, round shadows. “Cobwebs” are linear strands of floaters and would not be due to blood cells. I can not post pictures of red blood cells, they are too small for the resolution of my camera, and your view looking out is different from my view looking in anyways.

  9. Ray says:

    Hello Dr
    When focal point changes in people’s vision does it effect how we see floaters?
    Is there a chance that our line of sight changes and we might not seee the floaters?

    • Sorry, I do not understand the question. Do you mean when you are focusing on a near object versus a distant object? Do you mean when the eye ages and we become presbyopic? I’m not sure what you mean by “Line of sight”.

  10. Hani says:

    Dr J
    If vitreous liquefies over time is it possible to shift the floater a little away from the retina so that it will optically disappear ?

    • It is possible that IT may shift away over time. I don’t think there is anything you can actively do to facilitate that process, though.

    • Ashish says:

      Hi Hani,
      Can understand your desperation as a 40+ guy with floaters for around 20 years !, The solace I can offer is that they reduce with age(my case). In my country, they have been considered unimportant irritants not worth a doctor’s time :-( . The size and presence reduce over time as does your acceptance to them ! I think floaters happened to me due to lot of dust allergies (and hence sneezing) at an early age which is known to increase pressure of eyes.

  11. Benji says:

    Hi Doctor,

    Can you offer some insight as to why a small floater would tend to stay always close to the retina, despite the fact that it seems to be able to float around freely, and definitely moves up and down quite freely? Why wouldn’t it at times move towards the lens? Does the viscosity of the vitreous vary from section to section, so that floaters can move through some areas but not others? Thanks.

    • The floaters appear to be trapped in a visco-elastic fluid. They are not “floating” but instead they are”suspended” in position in a matrix. The floaters will move in “x” and “y” positions (lateral and up-and-down, but not “z” (front to back). The patients sees movement all over (laft, right, up and down, but there is little movement away from retina. At least in my observations.

  12. Ramesh says:

    Hello Dr.

    My age is 34 1/2
    In India give me any reference for best Dr. who will check my eye.

    both eye is affected these black line and dots .

    cataract operation have done in both eye.

    • I am not aware of anyone in your area both experienced and offering this laser procedure.

      • ahmad says:

        hi doctor
        i have floater in my eye and in the morning when i look up to the sky i see very small white flashes only when i look up in the sky
        it is dangerous ??

        • Without examining your eye in person, I can’t not evaluate your eye condition, render a diagnosis and offer a prognosis or reassurance. It would be professionally irresponsible. If you have not already, I’ll recommend you get a thorough eye examination from a qualified provider locally.

  13. irma says:

    Good morning. .. Im26 years old and i have lots of floaters in both of my eyes. .. And everything started with in2 months. .. Due to a sinus migran headaches…. Cause by mirena. .. My floares are clear cristal strands a circles. .. Ijust want to know if they are going to fade or dissolve. ….

  14. Ivan says:

    Hi there, I have Eye floaters for about 3 to 4 months now . Most of them are Transparent but 2 of them are Light brown. I have got them checked out by the doctor and they have said that i should not worry about them and just ignore them.

    My Question to you is that Can Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Cause Eye floaters and if so which ones in particular can cause them.

    Thank you for your help.
    My age is 24

  15. raghav says:

    hello,
    im a 19 yr old male…i hv been experiencing numerous floaters over the past month in both my eyes.my doctor says that my retina is fine and has prescribed a medication ocugard by cipla that helps increase retinal strength…this condition is getting quite annoying…pls suggest me some solution.thanks

    • Ocugard is a supplement with antioxidants marketed towards those with risks for cataract, macular degeneration and glaucoma. None of these are associated with floaters. Although it is not harmful, it is unlikely doing anything for floaters. I have no idea what “increasing retinal strength” means.

      • raghav says:

        Doc,would u reccomend a FOV for young patients?

        • Not usually. Younger patients are at greater risk for retinal detachment with FOV since their vitreous has not separated from the retina. Also, FOV’s often cause cataracts leading to the need for more surgery and the loss of focusing (accommodation) in that eye. This creates a focusing imbalance between the treated and untreated eye. If the mass and amount of vitreous condensation causing the symptoms is very significant, it can still be a consideration. These young patients usually have microscopically small floaters that are difficult for the examiner to find and even harder to document. Furthermore, the patient often has a healthy retina and normal, good vision. There is no pathology to document. It is risky for the doctor to perform a surgery that could have a devastating outcome in a patient that has no documentable pathology or disability.

  16. keagan ferrao says:

    Can big floaters as big as a size of a building be harmful to the eyes or is it normal kind of floater

    • Huh? As big as a building? Your perception as to the size of the floaters does not necessarily mean it is physically large compared to other floaters. The size of a floater does not infer that there is an eye health issue involved. There is no correlation as to size and health concern.

  17. mike says:

    Hi doc,
    Im 35 and have developed floaters in both eyes at the same time. Why do you think this happens? You would think one at a time as teh eyes are seperate. I spend alot of time in Tropical climates (half the year) it is my life and now I am worried that the one thing I love, traveling, has basically been taken away. I am really struggling in daylight. As usual the doctor is basically of teh opinion “you wont go blind” and their lack of concern for something that is mentally life changing is annoying and worrying. Being new I hope my brain adapts but in all seriousness I wont continue to live many more years with these in my eyes. One thing that gives me hope are the advances of science. Are you aware of this study for floaters? Maybe there is hope.

    http://www.iovs.org/content/47/5/2075.full

    • I am aware of this article and study. It is hopeful. This studied the indication of nattokinase to induce a posterior vitreous detachment. The study showed in was effective for that purpose. This may be helpful prior to a planned surgical vitrectomy, or to separate abnormal proliferative (scar) tissue from the retina. It does not appear that they did any measurement of the optical quality of the vitreous after treatment.

      • mike says:

        And why do you think floaters can appear in 2 eyes at once? Doesnt this seem like a huge coincidence??

        • Given the hundreds of millions of people in the US alone, it is possibly a coincidence…or… maybe some nutritional, environmental, chemical factor, or the influence of some medication heretofore not recognized or well understood.. That could affect both eyes at the same time.

  18. Vinayan says:

    Hi,
    am at 22.Recently i noticed a single crystal worm floater in my right eye.And it changes its shape occasionally.I have no more disturbance in my eyes.Is it need to consult a doctor.
    Thank you

    • It would be irresponsible for me to offer specific medical advice (to include simple reassurance) without the opportunity to examine the eye and develop a doctor-patient relationship. If you have concerns, then you should get a local examination by a qualified eye care provider.

      That said, what you describe sound quite common in younger patients with benign clumps of collagen protein near the retina. I have written and commented extensively on this as well as the challenges in treating this type of problem in this age group.

  19. Sunny says:

    What I have found useful for my floaters in both eyes is to move eyes right to left very quickly three or four times and also rotate them in a circular motion three four times. This sometimes moves the floaters out from the field of vision. Not a great trick but still works for me so might work for others too. Depends on how many floaters and where in the eye you have them and how big they are. Moving eyes in all six directions is also a great exercise for eye muscles. I am just 30 and suddenly a few annoying floaters have have appeared in both my eyes and I am trying to get used to them. My eyes otherwise are fine from the inside. Could be inflammation debris as the doctor said because I had an eye infection recently. Also I had a bad case of candida and I have noticed these floaters appeared only after that infection. Doctor does not agree though.

    One question, if anyone can answer if they have professional knowledge, how long can the FML (Fluorometholone) eye drops be used safely? Doctor has prescribed me a 21 days’ course, tapering one but I am reading online that it should not be used for more than seven days or at most ten. Besides he did not find anything seriously wrong with my eyes, just some irritation from dry eyes. Doctors are crazy these days?!

  20. Morgan says:

    Hi. I just came across this site tonight after trying to search about eye floaters. I am 29 yrs old. Just over an hour ago my eyes went like static and there were wavey lines in like a curve shape twords my left. Kind of like a lava lamp. It was hard to read or see the tv or whatever it was I would try to look at. I called my husband in a panic. I went into a dark room and it was like a light show. Tried closing my eyes and felt a little better but I could still see it some. At some point around 25 mins later or so I suddenly felt better. The best way I can describe it is like when your ear is plugged and then finally it pops or drains. And then I could see fine again. I do have pressure in my head and a slight headach now though. And my ear is suddenly sore. I do get migraines and I also have had a few floaters for about 3 weeks on and off. is this something I should be alarmed about? It definitely was worry some.

  21. Diego says:

    Hi Dr.

    All what I have read on this site has happened to me… Other doctors say I have to learn to live with this eye floaters… I am 32 but I remember few crystal worms when I was youn, maybe I was 14 years old… It with the time this floaters increase in number and maybe also in size… Now I see really a lot of them I think hundreds of them… Now I really can’t real not only a book that I want to enjoy but I can’t really read nothing unless the letters are big enough… This is becoming a really big obstruction in my vision and I thing there is a thin web… I hope my English is good enough to describe a thin courtin that covers most of my view…. So I have that thin courtin (a thin web) that makes light expand into my eye and those crystal worms big ones a nd a lot of black dots… A lot lot of them. I know you would have to see how my case is… According to the FAQ… But i can see how this problem grows up. There is not any area of my eye which doesn’t countians lot of eye floaters in both eyes.

    Thanks for reading I don’t even know if there is something to answer to this message but I feel good just by saying something to someone that can finally understand. I hope i will see you soon to see if I am able to cure.

    Thanks again

  22. Joana says:

    Dr. Johnson,
    1. Is there a reason why eye floaters suddenly appear, granted no pathology? I noticed them one year ago (I am 24) and it seemed like it practically happened overnight. I suddenly saw a grey dot against the ceiling and the classic worms when I stepped outside-many of them. A retina specialist confirmed that my eyes are fine. I have always had 20/20 vision. 2. The majority of the floaters are transparent in indoor lighting. The most bothersome floater is not, I see it all the time. When I naturally follow text reading left to right on a computer or book and then left, it darts extremely quickly and settles in my central vision, never failing to do so. It is so difficult to ‘ignore” it. What gives it these characteristics of being so mobile? The worm it is attached to is very defined if I squint, but this grey glob is not. Is this because it is more dense/refracts light differently? Where could it be located in my eye if it always settles a little to the right in the middle periphery? Is there very little hope for it moving away from the retina so it is there but I can’t see it? Thanks in advance

    • 1. No one knows why these floaters occur in young people. I do not see associated pathology when they can be found.
      2. What makes floaters mobile? That is their nature. By definition, floaters move. They are densities of protein suspended in a viscoelastic fluid. When the eye moves, the fluid moves and then the floater moves. Floaters are more or less defined in appearance based on how close or far they are from the retina. Even just a few millimeters difference can change the appearance of the floaters. Everything you have described is pretty typical for floaters in the younger demographic. It is possible your floaters could move away from the retina, or not. There no statistic I can quote to give you an idea of the likelihood that it will happen.

  23. Yonatan shoshani says:

    Dear Dr. J,

    In General, as I assume from reading your article about young people, do you think that the floaters can just pass away? does that ever happened? I Dont mean to get use to it, I mean literally and biologically just disappeared. Is that possible?

    Moreover, Is there an option to start with one eye and to see that there are no problems and then to continue for the other one?

    (Sorry if i had grammer issues I’m from Israel)

    • It is extremely unlikely that a floater will physically disappear, but they can optically “disappear. That is, if it is small enough, it could move to an area of they eye where it is no longer noticeable much or most or all of the time.

  24. Christa says:

    hi doc,
    i have the same thing were they are all black dots and they move all the time when i look at sertan places i am 21 and i have had them since i was a child and they kinda get annoying…i don’t have crystal worms or anything it’s just black dots that move constantly and i don’t know what to do i don’t think it’s messing with my vision but still….

  25. Phil says:

    Hello Doctor.
    I am 23 and have had floaters for a good few years now. Recently I’ve been concentrating on them more in order to describe them. I have some ‘crystal worms’ (I use the description of ‘ghost’ as they don’t shine and are quite dull grey). I also have smaller, more focussed, similar-looking structures. When I move my eyes (as you usually would to get the floaters to move out of the way), the larger worms glide in one direction and the smaller ones move quicker and more closely match the movement of my eyes, not precisely matching the direction of the larger floaters. It is as if they are on two different layers, the smaller ones seemingly able to go behind/in front (I can’t tell) of the larger worms. If I really concentrate it seems as if there are even more layers of material, indeed, the whole area of vision appears to have a background of floater-ish material! I can only see the large crystal worms during normal activities, these other details only appearing when looking at a bright blue sky. I have not read anything like this on here, have you heard of this before?

    • I had heard variations of your description. It is typical for younger patients looking for some exception to their subjective experience with the hope that they may be an exception and a candidate for treatment.

  26. Ben says:

    Dr. Johnson,
    First I must disclose that I have 20/15 vision, and have therefore only seen an eye doctor once in my entire life. However, I have seen lots of these shadow floaters, and they have been a nuisance for as long as I can remember (I’m 28 years old). They appear as floating Copyright symbols (®), and lots of squiggly lines that cross my line of vision. For years, I thought it was my own problem and that I was going crazy, because I was the only one that could see them.

    Luckily, I came across an article on floaters on WebMD that debunked the notion that I was crazy. Alas, with healthy eyes, this problem is only considered a nuisance, and I fall into the “there’s nothing that can be done” crowd. Both the floaters and the prognosis that nothing can be done bother me greatly. There has to be something I can do about it. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Probably the best treatment for your problem has not been invented yet. I am not aware of any specific recommendation that has been shown to be effective by modern scientific standards. It is an unfortunate situation.

  27. Nathan says:

    I have a black floater that i got about 5 years ago. Im 34 years old now. The floater looks like their is a hair in my eye. The end is black. On the rest of the floater there are black parts to it. I can see it in nearly any light. My eye doctor says my eyes are fine and healthy. I have worn contacts and glasses since I was a child. Having a black spot in my eye is not fine and I dont think I can deal with this the rest of my life. My eye doctor said it would get better or go away eventually, after 5 years I highly doubt it. I have the clear worm like floaters in my left eye and have noticed those nearly my entire life, however those dont bother me, in my right eye the black ones do as they interfere with my vision. My eye doctor said there is no treatment for floaters and she treats me like im worrying about nothing. I have read online that people ignore them, after 5 years I cannot ignore black spots in my eyes. I know you cannot provide a diagnosis without seeing me first but is it possible that my floater can be treated? I live in the bay area in california so im several hours away, but it would be worth driving to your office to find out if anything can be done for this floater.

    • There are treatment for floaters. Even if your doctor is not familiar with the laser treatment, the surgical vitrectomy should be part of a discussion as to potential treatments. That said, it may not be an appropriate choice for a younger person with microscopic filaments located near the retina. The laser may not be an option, either. What you describe is fairly typical of the floaters i see (or have difficulty seeing) in younger patients.
      Is it worth flying or driving down here? Maybe, maybe not. It may be worth it for you to know more precisely what you have and whether there really are options for you. For some people, they feel it is worth it just to know for sure from someone more specialized in the assessment and treatment of floaters. Given the small amount of information I have to go on, I would not be particularly encouraging the the laser s a safe and effective option for you.

  28. Nikolay says:

    Dear Dr Johnson,

    Do you think that the development of more precise lasers in the future will make it possible to treat small floaters close to the retina? Perhaps if a relatively low-powered but very precise laser was targeted using OCT? As I understand, OCT targeting already exists for cataract surgeries.

    • The lasers we use are very precise. I can focus on fine fibers or specks as small as several thousands of a millimeter. Precision is not the limiting factor. OCT is a mechanism for imaging the retina. It does not guide cataract surgery. That all said, I think there are some possible improvements in the technology of the lasers. I have some ideas for some improvements, but they may not make the floaters in young people more treatable.

  29. Rob says:

    Awesome article. I am 27 years old and recently (last two months) started noticing a prominent dot in my right eyes central vision. After reading countless articles about floaters I think this one made the most sense and hopefully can ease my mind a little bit since I can now understand why mine is so prominent. Hopefully my brain too can ‘adapt’ over time and stop caring to take a peak at it so often :)

    • Yulia says:

      Do you think that tinted contact lenses can provide (some) relief to people with eye floaters? I don’t notice eye floaters when I wear sunglasses so I assume that contact lenses could be a solution.

      I agree with you Rob – the article is a quite fair overview. I have been experiencing eye floaters the last 5 months and I am only 28.

      After 5 months I can say that my floaters have become mush less noticeable (almost fully transparent) and they are gradually moving to the background of my vision. I hope that my brain will soon do the trick and I will stop noticing them. Our brains are much smarter than we think.

      I saw my very first black dot at the age of 14 in high school. My brain just filtered it out and my vision restored completely. All in all, eye floaters are a matter of perspective.

      Good luck to everyone

      • Rob says:

        Sunglasses/tinted lenses wont work for everybody. My bothersome floater is so dense that I can see it against all backgrounds, even looking at my hands I can see it on my palm in any lighting. I can in fact even see my floater if I close my eyes anytime the sun is out or if im in a decently lit room. Can move my heads with my eyes closed and watch it bounce around to open them and it be in the exact position it was with them closed. I say sunglasses are a good solution for people with mild to moderate density floaters.

  30. Gareth says:

    Thanks for this article. There seems to be a strange lack of definitive information on the web about this particular phenomena.

    I’m now 32, and at the age of 22 I noticed a fairly prominent floater to the left of centre in my left eye.

    I had my eyes looked at by 2 professionals who couldn’t see anything and assured me my eyes are good condition and the natural contraction of the eyes was not underway as you might expect in a 50 year old.

    I wondered what the hell was going on, and this article explains the possibilities well.

    All I can say to anyone young and worrying (as I did) is:

    1. No more floaters appeared for me, and there have been no complications.
    2. You adjust to the point that your brain learns to ignore them. I now only see mine if I’m looking at a large white wall or something similar.

    • Thank you for your comments. You are fortunate to experience some spontaneous improvement or other adjustment that renders them less bothersome. It is good to know there is the possibility. I don’t think we can generalize that to everyone, though.

      • Gareth says:

        I can’t say they have physically improved. Just that when the fear subsides, you notice them less.

        A quick question for you, Doctor. Why is there so much junk science about the eyes? There’s people on the internet who link floaters to reading too much, tablets, exercise etc.

        I’ve weight trained and read books for years and my eyesight has remained very good

        • There is junk and pseudoscience everywhere in medicine.
          When and wherever traditional medicine falls short, it creates a vacuum for both well-meaning and unscrupulous types to offer up their theories and opinions and treatments. There is no “validity” filter on the internet, so anything goes. Also, there is a natural human need to attribute causation to the medical problem or phenomenon. “What did I do to cause this to happen?”. And we should all know that correlation does not prove causation.

  31. Jimmy Singh says:

    Hi Doc

    This link is so helpful. I am 41 years old in LA and I have huge eye floater in left eye for last 7-8 months. One is like letter C and there is another dot close to bottom of C. I went to the Doctor and she was able catch and see the floater and I was told that wait and it might settle on its own. I am trying to learn how to live with it but I have a feeling that I am loosing my vision in left eye. I work with computers, What would you suggest.

    • I am only an hour away from LA. You can always come to my office for a more floater-specific exam. I can tell you whether you have a floaters that can be treated. Then at least you’ll know and have some options.

  32. Efe says:

    Are there any innocent floaters.

  33. jeff g says:

    hello,

    I am 33 years old and have several floaters in my left eye from when i was hit with a rock when i was 18. Do you think that I would be a good candidate even though im under 35? Why is there not more people looking to fix this problem when so many people suffer from it ?

    • Whenever younger patient try to convince me that they are and exception because of _________ , on exam, they still have the typical floaters of younger people. There are exceptions, of course, but I can not be overly encouraging for anyone in this age group.

  34. flavio says:

    if my ophtalmologist is effortlessly able to see one of my floaters, as i have an annoying floater in that eye, are my chances increased to have this floater removed successfully?

  35. keagan ferrao says:

    Hi doctor I mastrabate a lot can mastrabation cause eye floaters because after mastarbation I got eye floaters

  36. aman singh says:

    hello doctor i am live in india in punjab state ludhiana city sir I seeing black spot & floaters (my means singal dot) + black spot i sending you two photos p/z tell me treatment i chaquep the doctor & i am use the eye drop (systan ultra alcon) and (elargen eye drop) i am eye drop use 2 year & not fine my eye i am streesed & high blood preshor in 6 mont & efected the my eye p/z tell me treatment my age 30 year old

    • Younger patients are not typically not good candidates for the treatment with the laser. I can not recommend any specific management or supplements. I have written extensively about this challenge throughout my web site. It is unfortunate.

  37. Raju says:

    Hi doctor,

    I’m Raju, 26 years (Male) from India. Recently I have been suffering from eye floaters from 2 months. Day by day these are annoying me a lot. I consulted an eye doctor, she examined and told me about the healed scar on my retina which is present from my birth.

    By the way she told, that the healed scar is not responsible for the eye floaters which are annoying me. She told me that these will be ignored by brain after some time. But almost 2 months done and still facing the eye floaters.

    Earlier for the facial growth, I consulted a endocrinologist and started using Testosterone steroid for 3 months. Do that medication affected and resulting in my eye floaters?

    Please at least guide me in this regard and I will be grateful to you a lot.

    Thanks & Regards
    Raju

    • I tell people over and over that no one really knows the causes of floaters in younger people. I doubt that the testosterone is related since that is a naturally occurring hormone, but I can’t say for sure.

      • Raju says:

        Thank you very much doctor for your prompt reply.

        Since I’m only 26 years old and suffering from eye floaters, could you please suggest any natural therapies, diets or anything that would reduce my eye floaters.

        P.S: I came to know that eye floaters also result of migraine, now a days I have been suffering from headache on my left side of the back side of the head.

        Do these eye floaters are symptoms for migraine or any chronic disease?

        Please kindly answer my query.

        Kind Regards
        Raju

        • I can not and do not recommend natural therapies or supplements, etc. If I felt they were actually helpful, I’d be selling them through my office and web site. There are some very rare instances of vitreous changes due to autoimmune inflammatory conditions and such. I can not tell you whether your floaters are suspicious for that possibility or not. Only your local doctor can rule those condition out as possibilities. They would be extraordinarily rare without loss of vision and other significant changes in visual function.

    • RAMESH says:

      Hi Raju,
      r u staying in Bangalore or other place??

      Regards,
      Ramesh

  38. Chris E says:

    Based on the other pages here, it seems that you generally encourage out-of-area patients to book 2-3 appointments on consecutive days, so that those who are good candidates stand a decent chance of getting their floaters corrected in one trip. What about the under-35 crowd, who are often poor candidates for treatment and may therefore needlessly tie up your appointment schedule? Karickhoff’s standing policy with the younger set is to only book initial appointments for examination, not treatment. What is your policy?

    • I don’t have a strict policy in that regard. If it makes the patient feel better to book three appointments. I don’t mind. If we need to cancel a couple, it is not a big deal.

  39. Rachel says:

    Hi Doctor,

    I’m 40 and got floaters right at the height of a bad TMJD flare up, which was some time around March. My eyes were checked and all was fine. At my age and because of the cause, is there any chance they fade on their own?

  40. puja says:

    hello again, recently i came to know that even lymphoma in eyes cause floaters.. is there any way to differentiate between floaters caused by cancer and floaters caused by detachment or tear in retina…. can floaters alone be the symptom of cancer? is there any other symptom absence of which can guarantee that i dont have cancer????

    • The differential diagnosis for headache includes brain cancers although tension headache is a lot more common. If you start reading medical books for the differential diagnoses, you will find all sorts of horrible and deadly diseases included for all kinds of common ailments. You generally don’t get guarantees in medicine, especially when you try to self diagnoses or seek a definitive answer via the internet. There is a reason doctors have to go to school for so many years, in part to be able to work though extensive differentials based on logical, laboratory and/or technical elimination of competing diagnoses. If you are concerned and/or a hypochondiac, go get a thorough examination by a competent ophthalmologist for a dose of reassurance.

  41. puja says:

    hello again, recently i came to know that even lymphoma in eyes cause floaters.. is there any way to differentiate between floaters caused by cancer and floaters caused by detachment or tear in retina…. can floaters alone be the symptom of cancer? is there any other symptom absence of which can guarantee that i dont have cancer????

  42. Narae says:

    Hello, Dr. Johnson. This is Narae from south korea and i am 22. I had LASIK about a month ago, and I started see floaters about a week-2 weeks later from that surgery. I can find more than 5 floaters and I am sure that these are caused by LASIK. They look like spots, warms and move fast when I roll my eyes. I can’t see floaters when I am in the dark or indoor, but I can clearly see that when I am looking at the outside of bright especially the clear sky. I wonder if the floaters can be removed by using YAG Laser and is there a chance to be disappeared naturally. Also i want to know your opinion of the relation of LASIK and the effect that i am suffered. I hope these things don’t increase anymore… I will waiting for your answer. Thank you.

    • LASIK is mildly traumatic to the eye, probably from the suction applied to the eye with the resultant, temporary increase in pressure and/or distortion of the eye itself. I have heard from several young people who developed some moving shadows of some sort soon after LASIK. It sure sounds like the LASIK was related. It probably isn’t any different from the floaters that young people can develop spontaneously and I have written and commented extensively on the low likelihood that those can be treated with the laser.

      • Narae says:

        Thank you for your reply. then, Is there a chance that the floaters from LASIK can be a temporary symptom and removed naturally? I have heard of some people who had the floaters after LASIK became can’t see their floaters anymore. how do you think of that?

  43. Safdar Hasan Khan says:

    Hello doctor,
    I am a 20 year old male noticing tiny very small spider web or hair like thin 2-3 floaters in one eye and i have MYOPIA since 3 years, i notice them when i want to notice them they are seen only in brightness and when i want to see them they move from place and i cant focus on them. IS IT NORMAL?.
    YOUR HELP WILLBE GRATELY APPRECIATED

    • I am not the great omniscient internet-doctor. For medical-legal reasons alone, I can’t diagnose your condition. Is it normal? It may be a variation of normal in an otherwise healthy eye. “Normal” and “Ideal” are not the same thing. Is it ideal and preferable to you? No.

  44. Bethany says:

    hey, im 19 and have had eye floaters i think maybe a year? it has gotten a tad ridiculous; i cant seem to even count how many now, but i would say a good seven/eight eye floaters in each eye. i feel like having this many so young is pretty worrisome? i havent been to an optometrist yet, but in your opinion do you think that sounds a bit abnormal? should i be worried??

    • If normal is described as clear, comfortable, floater-free vision,then that does sound a bit abnormal. Generally speaking, it may more accurately be described as a variant of normal in an otherwise healthy eye. But I can’t comment on your particular condition since I haven’t examined your eye.

  45. Hovawart says:

    I accidentally stabbed myself in the eye a couple months ago. I bent over with a swift swooping motion to scoop dog food out of the bottom of the bin. Because I don’t use my left eye for anything but reading, I had no warning that I was about to impale myself on a large plastic blade that was pointing upward. Strangely, although it rocked my world for a minute, I recovered quickly and there was no pain at all, and I have very poor medical insurance, so I did not seek medical attention. Now I occasionally get the sensation that I am looking through a film, and even though I am not used to seeing out of my left eye except for reading, this sensation of a film is annoying and intrusive. I live in a small town, and will go see my opthamologist about this, but does this sound like a familiar–and treatable–phenomena?

    • See your local ophthalmologist first, get an evaluation and diagnosis and then contact me again. I can not make a diagnosis or prognosis for treatment based on the information available.

  46. Sarah Coombes says:

    I have the aforementioned translucent worm floater in my left eye, in the middle of my visual field, that began with a small clear dot when I was 18, and had evolved into a small umbrella when I reached 25, that has now grown quite considerably, as I move through my 30s, into a ball of translucent wool. I have a number of questions about this condition. Firstly, will this floater gradually disappear with age, as the vitreous becomes more liquified, will the floater sink to the bottom? Secondly,, are there any exercises I can perform, such as moving the eye around in a certain way, that will dislodge the floater and/or turn the vitreous around inside the eye so the floater is no longer visible? Thirdly, does the body replace the vitreous humor, and are there any drugs or supplements I can take that would speed-up that process or otherwise destroy the floater? And finally, do you anticipate a nano-technological solution in the medium-term; where small machines can be injected to keep the vitreous clear from floaters?

    • 1. Not likely, 2. none that I would recommend, 3. No, 4. No.
      I wish I had more helpful information for you. These are all question that have been asked before, except maybe the nano-bots.

    • Sarah Coombes says:

      In the years I have experienced this condition I have found a few remedies, which I was hoping could be substantiated within this forum, and I should say may not work for everyone, and the eye specialists here may countermand for medical reasons. But having experienced this condition I understand how debilitating it can be so if my advice can help people then that may improve my karma.

      1. Sunlight really seems to help. As mentioned earlier, sunlight will break down the hemoglobin in those floaters which are congealed red blood cells. I believe that sunlight helps with all other floaters too, because it seems to bleach the colour out of them. It isn’t quite so effective with the translucent young-persons floaters, but I find that they do become smaller and less obvious.

      2. Exercise I have found helps considerably, perhaps the most effective remedy I have experienced. I personally play basketball which involves looking up and down with great rapidity. I don’t know if that frequent and rapid eye motion provides the remedy, or if it’s the highly rigorous exercise that basketball requires, but after playing ball every other day for two years I have almost completely eliminated my pre-existing dark floaters, and the translucent young-persons floaters also improved considerably.

      3. Prevention being the best cure, I have found that holding your forehead firmly when coughing or sneezing helps to prevent new floaters appearing. In fact, I would advise this for everyone because those reflex actions can impose great forces on the sensitive internal organs of the head. I tried this approach over this Winter and now in the Spring, once the sunlight returned, I only have one or two small dark floaters remaining. Several years ago I had at least one dozen of these dark floaters.

      4. Get a good nights’ sleep every night and wear sunglasses in dusty or sandy conditions like the city or the beach. I have found that keeping your eyes healthy in general does really help with floaters. Clearly wearing sunglasses may contradict my earlier point about sunlight curing floaters, but I do find that the sun gets through the glasses and does its work regardless, and you can be selective about when to wear the sunglasses to give yourself the best overall balance.

      5. Use darker colours on your computer desktop and turn away from visual conditions which show the floaters. The more you see the floaters, the more you look for them, and when you look for them then you will find them. There seems to be a real psychological aspect to floaters. Good luck everyone :)

      • I only disagree with about half of your comments, but I’ll post it anyways. You wrote:

        sunlight will break down the hemoglobin in those floaters which are congealed red blood cells. I believe that sunlight helps with all other floaters too, because it seems to bleach the colour out of them.

        It is a very rare floater that is made up of blood. Floaters do not have pigment in them, hemoglobin or otherwise. There is nothing for sunlight to bleach. If your floater conditions improved by playing basketball outdoors and supporting your head when you sneeze, that is just anecdotal. Correlation does not prove causation. You don’t know if your floaters might have spontaneously improved without doing all these things. I am glad to hear your conditions has improved or stabilized.

  47. Sandy says:

    Hello-
    I am 23 and have noticed a decrease in vision over the past few months. After being given several different contact lenses to try, and nothing working, I was finally diagnosed with floaters. Apparently I have an abnormal amount for someone my age. I have also been experiencing extreme fatigue for at least a year now, and was wondering if you knew of any medical conditions that can cause floaters/vision loss. Everything else in my eye exam was normal. I know that you cannot diagnose me over the Internet, however, I was hoping for some advice so I know what to ask my doctor. I know that there is something wrong but I keep being brushed off by doctors because I am so young and “look healthy.”

    Thank you so much
    -Sandy

    • If you have not already, consider getting a thorough evaluation by a vitreo-retinal specialist. There can be some rare auto-immune conditions that can cause some inflammatory reactions in the eye mimicking floaters.

  48. Joe C. says:

    Hi doctor. Thank you for making this website available and giving an explanation about floaters for the younger population. I am 34 and about three months ago began to notice a large congregation of floaters in my vision. I saw an ophthalmologist who noted that my eyes are otherwise healthy and that there is no cause for concern. He then asked what I did for a living (I’m a nursing student, restaurant cook) and if I am around chemicals often. I said no. However, I left the office puzzled. Is there a relationship between floaters and chemical exposure? Should I be extra careful when using cleaning chemicals at work?

  49. Lawrence says:

    After having read your article I am still a bit baffled by my floaters. I have been experiencing floaters since I was about five years old and actually never worried about them until they got more in number and therewith more annoying in highschool. Especially in winter they are almost unbearable Now, I am 19 years old and have to deal with the fact that they are likely to get worse every year. I had my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist recently and she classified the severity of my floaters somewhere in the middle range. Obviously, she could detect them, in my otherwise perfectly healthy eyes. After the eye examination, when my pupils were still dilated, I could not see any floaters for the first time in my life. That was great; but also strange, since it would indicate that my floaters are in the center of my vitreous humour, even though I see them as very distinct worm shaped patterns.? Since dilated pupils don’t seem to be the right solution to my problem, I wondered whether I might be a candidate for the laser treatment. From my point of view most ophthalmologists don’t really care for or even investigate this very subject. Seems to me as if floaters were considered a minor flaw only. One of the reasons I am studying medicine. I would be grateful if you answered my question(s).

    • I don’t agree that we can assume or presume that your floaters are in the middle of the globe. MOST floaters floater sufferers will observe a reduction of the awareness of eye floaters with a pharmacological or physiologic dilation of the pupils. Distinct worm-shaped patterns are almost pathognomonic of vitreous condensations very close to the retina. Based on that description and your tender, young age, I’d suggest that the laser is not likely a viable and safe option for the problem.

      • Lawrence says:

        Thank you for having taken time to answer my question. I almost thought you would tell me that. Floaters near the retina seem to be similar to dust on the imaging sensor of a DSLR camera: If there are stains on the sensor, they can be seen at small aperture, but not at large aperture (similar to dilated eyes). That’s just what I experienced as a hobby photographer. The human’s eyes are truly fascinating considering the fact that the brain can tune out all the stationary blood vessels running in front of the retina, but not the almost transparent floaters. However, I still hope my floaters don’t get worse.

  50. alex says:

    hi doctor.
    I see sometimes 1 and sometimes 2 floaters in my vision of right eye they are not too big the dimention is like a small finger nail..they move with my eyes when I look the other side….and I see a few lines in the left eye..I am 27 years old..I visited 2 doctors and they said that there was no problem with my eyes….by the way it started 3 weeks ago…

  51. Mariam says:

    Hi,

    I’m a 19 (to be 20 in a few months) year old female.

    Late last year (2013), I noticed a black floater in my left eye and there was this cloud/fog like sheet over my vision, so I went and got it checked up at one of the local optometrists. He said, “there is nothing wrong with your eye, it is normal if you get floaters. Come back if you get more of them.”

    Nonetheless, as I got back from university on Wednesday, I honestly couldn’t cope with it anymore. The number of floaters have increased. I see 2 black floaters in my line of vision and when I’m outdoors/if I look at a blank wall, I see an array of bubbles along with the black floaters. When I’m indoors, my eyes have this weird fog over them. The best way I can describe it is that it looks like the old televisions when the satellite signals started to play up…so its like flashes of light and cut vision kind of thing. In general, indoors or out, I can barely see with my left eye….which then the imbalance causes migraines and vertigo like symptoms (dizziness and nausea).
    SO…I went to the optometrist at University today, and he carried out a dilation test. He said that I have two tears in the vitreous. Now first of all, the effect of the dilation has not gone yet, and it is really irritating. Secondly, he said there is nothing I can do, but considering that my eye always waters up…and that I’m no way near the age the age of 40 and above…I really think there should be something I should be doing. What kind of care am I supposed to undertake? What should I do to prevent further damage?

    I hope there is something I can do about it. Honestly, being an anemic university student, who constantly suffers from migraines and symptoms of anemia, I really don’t want to stay like this for months until it just decides to repair itself.

    Thanks in advanced.

    • I m sorry to hear of your frustration with your eyesight. I’ll have to say I am not sure what your doctor was describing with “tears in your vitreous”. It doesn’t make sense to me. The retina can tear as it is a membrane, but the vitreous is a 3-dimensional visco-elastic fluid. It can’t really tear. Young people like you can get local, focal clumping of the vitreous proteins which, if close enough to the retina, can cast moving shadows.
      You observation of eyes watering up has nothing to do with the vitreous. I do not have any specific recommendations for you as far as lifestyle or dietary changes. No one has studied this relatively common problem, and most of the stuff on the internet is pure fabrication to try to sell you something, or a system, or a supplement. You said: “I really don’t want to stay like this for months until it just decides to repair itself“. I am not sure what you have been told by your doctor and what kind of expectation was set for you, but there is no mechanism for the eye to heal this because it is not recognized by the body as something it needs to heal. If you have information I am not aware of, I’d be interested to hear it. It is possible for small floaters to possibly shift into a less bothersome or less noticeable position within the vitreous, but it may not.

    • Miguel says:

      “The best way I can describe it is that it looks like the old televisions when the satellite signals started to play up…so its like flashes of light and cut vision kind of thing”

      Same thing happened to me after a concussion and neck injury. You have visual snow syndrome (VS) you should research online about it. It’s rare and it’s recently only began to take notice from the medical field. So it’s relatively nothing known about it but that it’s linked more towards our neurological senses rather our eyes. I hope that helps in some way, it’s a terrible ailment but hopefully research will find an answer to make it better.

  52. John says:

    Hi,

    I’ve had a floater in my right eye since I was 15.

    (Possibly trauma inflicted)

    Am 27 now and I feel like getting it treated at one of the Optegra eye hospitals here in the UK. (I live in Scotland)

    I feel “brave” about the Vitrectomy method despite the risks. And I understand that the YAG Laser can’t treat all floaters if they are microscopic and too close to the retina.

    My floater however I can only describe as an annoying black dot with a tail, and could be seen by my local eye specialist/eye doctor when I was 15. So maybe it’s not microscopic or close to the retina…it does not resemble a worm/web/cell.

    I know the only way to know for sure is to see a consultant…but how does this sound to you ??

    • They may have seen some anomaly or thickening of the vitreous, but not necessarily the bothersome, culprit floater in question. It is impossible for me to say. Typically the floaters in younger people are VERY difficult to see on examination. I tend to be more motivated and spend more time looking for them than most, I imagine. Vitrectomy in a young person is more risky than when older. It is a big decision, choose wisely. Read:

      • PJ says:

        Hello Doctor. I am a 30 year old male who has been extremely bothered by eye floaters in both eyes (more bothersome in my right eye since I was a teenager). In bright conditions, it’s torture and even at night when I observe a light (i.e. a street lamp) I can see the floaters descend down and blur the light source. Moreover, sometimes my eye is sore because I constantly try to move the floaters from my central vision. I have seen a couple of retina specialists over the past few years and they said they would not perform a vitrectomy because it’s too risky. In your opinion, is there any recourse?

        • Vitrectomies are riskier in younger patients and younger patients are not typically good candidates for treatment with the laser. I may not be able to suggest any treatment options for you.

  53. Del Shaddai says:

    Hi Doctor, I´m 26 years old and i suffered a ear injury by the sound (music), and 5 months later i started to see this floaters, there are so many persons that unexplainable got this two things, one after another ¿have you notice that? and i was wondering if there is a relationship between “Tinnitus and Floaters” ¿do you know something?. Anyway, I got Floaters and i want to remove them.

  54. Shelby says:

    Im 14 and I have been seeing this Eye Floater (grey dot). I see it every once and a while. Its very irritating but no pain, yet. What are some of the reasons it could have appeared on someone as young as me? Do you think it is serious enough to go to the eye doctor to get it checked out or just leave it and hope it will go away?

    • No one really knows why these condensations of the vitreous fluid appear. Possible trauma/injury, possible some medications, but most just seem to appear in otherwise very healthy, young people. It has not been well studied. The usual advice within the profession is that with any new onset of eye floaters, for you to get a thorough, dilated eye examination. It may be worthwhile for the reassurance that everything is healthy.

  55. josh b says:

    This is great info. I just got my first floater 2 weeks ago. Had an eye exam, and doc said nothing was wrong with my eye. I am 30 yrs old and I thought I was too young for this to be happening. Doesn’t sound like there is anything I can do (that has been proven anyway) to eliminate this without serious risks; however, I do have one small question. I can only see it outside. If it starts to get darker where I can see it indoors…do I need to go back to the doctor for a check up? Or is this normal…

  56. Gabriel says:

    Hello Doctor,

    My fiance is legally blind (ONH). She started seeing a spot in her left eye , top left corner (1.5 years ago). We went to her optometrist who was not able to see anything wrong. He believed it was something wrong with her optic nerve, but he had no way of knowing. There has been noticeable loss in the VF where the spot is.

    This spot has gotten a little worse since she first saw it. It is more noticeable in bright light, and has what I would call flare ups. She can always see it, but at times it is much darker than others – random times in the day, no correlation.

    We got in to see a neuro-ophthalmologist (Karl Golnik, M.D) in Ohio, we were told he was world renowned. He checked my fiance’s eye several times, but did not see / hear anything from us that troubled him. We told him about her primary eye physician visits, and that she had seemed to lose vision in her VF per the visual field tests, which he reviewed. He asked if her spot moved, which she said no.

    He ended up telling us that he believed this spot was a floater. This of course confused us, as we did not understand why her optometrist would not have suggested this (her optometrist seemed to think something else was going on). I mentioned to him that I thought floaters “floated”, but he said not always, and that he had a floater that is static.

    At the end of the day, we know this doctor deals with unusual eye issues every day, and we should be able to trust that diagnosis. The spot in her eye is still there, never moves, some days it is darker than others.

    Does the diagnosis of a floater make sense to you from what I have described?

    • Floaters are the shadows cast by densities in the viscous vitreous fluid. Because they are in a fluid, the perceived shadows, almost by definition, move around. A small floater, close to the retina in a young and thicker vitreous may not seem to move very much, but it would still move. If a floater were truly static, you wouldn’t likely even be aware of it. It IS the movement that is perceived by the visual system.
      If there is a spot that does not move, it would not be typical of the non-pathological floaters I am accustomed to seeing and treating.
      Very small (truly microscopic) vitreous densities near the retina are very, very difficult to see. Check THIS PHOTOGRAPH as an example. That little density is probably 1/20 of a millimeter or so. It is only visible with the lighting just as it is. It would not normally be seen with the usual instruments of examination. Without the opportunity to examine an eye, I have to be more general in my answers. Unfortunately, I can not tell you with any confidence whether your fiance’s spot is a floater or something else.

      • Gabriel says:

        Thank you for taking the time to reply.

        May I ask, would it be “normal” for a floater to cause a visual field test to show decreased vision in the area where the floater is seen?

        Thanks,
        Gabriel

        • No. The visual field testing goes back and repeat testing points. For a (even slightly) mobile object, the testing point would be seen at least one of those times and the missed measure point would then be considered a false positive. If the floater is large enough to actually be that obstructive, it would be hard to imaging the eye doctor not seeing it.

  57. reuel fernandes says:

    Hi doctor can you explain how do eye floaters disappears when eye’s are dilated by eye drops

  58. keagan ferrao says:

    Doctor can you explain toons me how floaters disappear when the eyes are dilated with drops not even a single floaters was visible when my eyes were dilated for 9 hours can you explain how

  59. keagan ferrao says:

    Then doctor what should I do if this big floaters are not normal I have been to an ophthalmologist and he said it’s normal and your are saying it’s not Normal what should I go please suggest me something.l am only 20 years and so big and intense floaters can you tell me what can cause this big floaters in young people like me

    • We need to define some terms. I will suggest that it is not the NORMAL expectation of the proper and ideal function of the young eye and visual systemt to experience the presence of a bothersome undesired moving shadow in its midst. This is not necessarily a PATHOLOGICAL condition which is more to what your doctor may be trying to rule out. And the presence of these moving shadows may be relatively common and a possible anatomical variant in an otherwise very healthy eye. You and I agree that this is neither ideal or a NORMAL function of the eye. It may be part of the human experience which is chock full of less-than-ideals and entropy. I can not tell you what caused of your floaters.

  60. Igor says:

    Hello doctor, thank you for this page with insightful [sic] information. I’m unsure whether the answer to this question is a quite obvious, resounding “no”, but I’d like to ask you as I couldn’t find a definitive answer. Regarding floaters that are close to the retina (specified as the ones likely to appear in persons below the age of 35) : are these likely to change positions. As in : through aging will these floaters and thus the persons become elligible for treatment ?

    • The short answer is “no”. The floaters in younger patients are not the same as I see in older patients. They don’t “mature” at a certain age or phase and then become treatable. They are different.

  61. Robert says:

    Doctor what do you think of the theory that young patients spontaneously noticing floaters correlates quite nicely to a spiritual awakening or NDEs or an illness. I personally had a breakthrough spiritual awakening after 2 hours of meditation. That was 3 months ago and I have had floaters since. I also feel very sharp, or awakened if you will such as that is said of the Buddha. Anyway I went to my eye doctor and he closely examined my eyes after dilating the crap out of them. He said I had good healthy eyes, no retinal tears or scar tissue or anything like that, my floaters don’t look that bad, I will get used to them. When I was 14 I got sick and had a temperature of 104, and I was lying in bed and noticed lots of floaters. I got used to them at that time. Whenever I got especially sick or when I had a cold and took Robitussin the floaters would come back. I am 34. I see that this book is about people with my experience: http://www.amazon.com/Mouches-Volantes-Floaters-Structure-Consciousness/dp/3033003370 Also I periodically have visual snow. Ok now for the kicker If I stare at a floater and then close one eye and it is there, and then close the other and open the other sometimes I can still see it! How is that possible? The only thing I can think is that my mind compensated for the belief that something was there and so I saw it. My mind playing tricks on me. But then why does it not happen all the time? Also I just tested and I saw 4 floaters and I closed my left eye and 3 dissapeared leaving 1 visible, I then closed my right eye and opened the left and all 4 were there. So in other words 1 of the ones that I saw I could see with either eye. Since the piece of debris or whatever it is cannot float over to the other eye’s vitreous humour, I see this as very strange indeed. Maybe you could take an informal survey of your younger patients to see if they have been extra spiritual before the onset of their floater annoyances.
    I hope you have some thoughts on this because these darn floaters are getting old quick.

    • Please see my answer to your other similar question. I don’t believe “extra-spirituality (whatever worldview that is) and true floaters are related.

      • Robert says:

        Your response was that you didn’t believe that an increasing amount of spirituality in ones life could correspond to an increasing awareness of floaters. I believe that not to be the case, as in the case of my current experience that is indeed what is happening.
        But if you don’t know anything about it and you don’t love God enough to even take an informal survey of your patients to see if maybe just maybe it could possibly be true, then I just think that is sad. Good luck to you.

        • You asked for my opinion and didn’t agree with my answer. Sorry that makes you sad. Are you suggesting that because I haven’t taken the time to survey my patients on your suggestion, that you can now infer that I don’t love God enough? Fuzzy logic at best.

          • mensabunnie says:

            I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but laugh at this one. Wow. If floaters are a result of heightened “spirituality” then count me out, I have enough floaters as it is.

  62. Jinx says:

    Hello Doctor,

    I’m an 18 year old girl and recently developed floaters. Mine are affecting my life to the point I’m developing anxiety and I think depression of some sort, but I know there’s no way of treating them… I’m extremely devastated by this new onset of floaters. I have also recently moved to China for a year, and the doctors here gave me a medicine called Iodized Lecithin (Jolethin by Daiichi Yakuhin) and said it would help with it?

    I was also wondering, over time do floaters get better? Because I honestly don’t think I can say ‘get used’ to these annoying things in my eyes… Although it’s said that floaters don’t cause any physical harm themselves, I’m starting to experience the mental harm, which in turn is causing me to lose appetite, weight, etc etc… Any help with this side of floaters? The mental side

    • I’m aware of some references to thew use of lecithin to treat floaters, but they usually originate form the 1950’s and/or used to treat hemorrhagic floaters or cholesterol in the arterioles. I haven’t found any studies – ANY studies regarding the natural history or treatment of the type of floaters I have found typical of younger patients. I don’t have any great suggestions, emotionally other than be thankful that it isn’t worse. It could always be worse.

    • Robert says:

      Have you been extra spiritual lately, or sick, or taken any hallucinogens? Or drank too much? I have a theory but I could be wrong… I am no doctor of course but I am pretty observant most of the time.

      also if Hallucinogens check this out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallucinogen_persisting_perception_disorder

      • The awareness of moving shadows across the visual field (a.k.a. “floaters”) is not a perceptual aberration. It is caused by densities and clumps of vitreous collagen proteins that, well, cast a shadow onto the retina. The floaters we are talking about here are an optical phenomenon, not a case of an overspiritual mindset or a post-hallucinogen after-effect. What is “extra-spiritual” anyways? Magical thinking?

        • Robert says:

          Extra Spiritual means more spiritual than usual. Usual using oneself as the reference point.

          • What is the standard baseline index of “normal” spiritualism? What are the markers? How many standard deviations above this normal spiritualism is enough to be a marker for “extra spiritualism. I just trying to design my survey using the scientific method, you know.

  63. keagan ferrao says:

    My floaters look big as a building when I see from a distance of 30 feet is it normal because I am only 19 years old

  64. keagan ferrao says:

    Hi doctor do eye floaters in teenage appear big because it is close to the retina or the floaters in adults appear big

  65. keagan ferrao says:

    Hey doctor I had gone for an eye exam yesterday where the doctor dilated my eyes with some eye drops which had an red cap and today I got big cobwebs floaters did the eye drops cause this. is there any sides effects of the drops that can cause floaters did any of your patients experienced this after you dilated their eyes

    • Tens of thousands of people get their eyes dilated with these drops every day. In my entire ophthalmology career and especially considering the last several years of being the “go to” guy for floaters, this is only the second time I’ve hear anyone make that connection. It is suspicious because of the temporal association, but I can’t think of a mechanism of action for it to occur.

  66. Blake says:

    hi im 17 ive had tons of floaters in my vision since i started taking this medication intuniv for high blood pressure. Could this be why i suddenly have floaters in my vision? its slowly getting worse and its also starting to affect my social life.
    Thanks.

    • I am not familiar with the side effects of intuniv and I have never heard anyone make the association of that medication and floaters. I have heard others mention the onset of floaters after taking different classes of medications, but still rare enough that it is not really a reportable event from a public health standpoint and there is nothing really to measure to be able to quantify the floaters.

  67. sara says:

    Hi doctor, thank for posting all this information online so we can know more about our problem.

    I want to ask is the floater in young age tend to be smaller then the floater in older age grp? such as since they close to the retina, they are small when we look at them?

    thank you

  68. ken says:

    Hi doctor, I’m 26 year old and live in usa. I notice i have those so call eye floater a week ago and i went to the eye doc to check it out, like you say, most floater in young age can’t or hard to see in doc exam. And the doctor say that my eye are healthy.

    What I really want to ask it that I only have 1 small like web floater on my right eye now and my eyes are 20/20 vision with no diabetic or any sickness that most studies i read online say would cause floaters in young age. I asked my brother-in-law and he say he use to have floaters too and his brain got used to them and blocked them in his vision, so now he doesn’t see them much only once in a while.

    I know I have to live with it for the rest of my life, what I really want to ask or wonder is does floaters in young age tend to increase more floater over time? from what i read on this site and other site, some peoples have the same floater for 10year + and some got worse and worse. that what scaring me right now that my floater may get worse over time.

    In your study with young adult age 20 to 30, that you have seem, do their floaters get worse or have more floaters? My Floater doesn’t move at all, i dont know why but it alway stay at the top right corner in my eye and never moved.

    Also, do most floaters in young age are like worm small web? because am scare that one day i wake up and a big floater appear in the center of my eye vision blockin my vision.

    • For the younger patients that I have seen, I determine whether they can be treated or not at that first visit. They are not me regular patients and typically I do not follow their condition 1, 5, 10 years longitudinally. I haven’t seen any study that has done so either. Any answer on my part just be conjecture. I wouldn’t know how to answer that question.

      • ken says:

        thank for the reply doctor,

        last question, like every eye doctor say and website say, eye floaters in young adult now are more common and can happen to anyone. But is eye floaters really harmless? beside annoying us.

        I guess my question is, I’m scare that I might get my retina damage because of eye floaters and other damage to my eye from eye floaters.

        I only have 1 web-like floater in my top right corner of my eye right now, but am guessing i will have more in my life time.

        thank again doctor! without ur website, and all those good comment you made really helped me alot through this tough time.

        • Are eye floaters harmless? Floaters can be a symptom of more serious problems like retina holes/tears/detachments. Floaters can also be a symptom of intraocular infections, foreign bodies, and other rarities. A “floater” just means that there is a shadow moving across the visual field. But… if on the other hand you are asking if the presence of an otherwise benign floater is dangerous in itself, then the answer is no. If you are imagining the floater “bumping” up against the retina causing damage somehow, well that doesn’t happen. Typical floaters do not damage the eye.

  69. reuel fernandes says:

    Hi doctor I had gone to an ophthalmologist and he said floaters are normal is my big floaters normal I just wanted to known from you is it normal

    • I don’t know how you define normal.
      Is it the ideal function and structure and anatomy and optical function of the eye? > No
      Is it serious pathology of the eye? > Probably not.
      Is it part of an eye disease and/or disorder? > Probably not
      Is it relatively common? > >Common enough.
      Is it a candidate for treatment with the YAG laser? >Not likely.
      Would you be able to find someone willing to perform a vitrectomy for the typical floater that young people have? >Not likely.
      Has a safe, reliable, efficient therapeutic treatment for these floater been invented yet? > No.
      I hope that this pre-answers your next several questions for me.

  70. reuel fernandes says:

    Hi doctor I wanted to know does any of these eye dilation eye drops cause any effect on the retina or vitreous or only it works on eye muscles

    • Dilation eye drops affect the neuromuscular junction receptors of the iris radial and sphincter muscles which affect the size of the pupil. They would not have an anticipated effect on the retina or vitreous.

  71. reuel fernandes says:

    So what should I do with such big eye floaters is there any treatment can these floaters be close to my retina like you have said that young people have microscopic eye floaters very close to retina do people get such big eye floaters which look big as a building is this floaters harmful or not

    • You are perseverating. In case you have not read my previous 3 responses to your repeated questions, I can not and will not make a diagnosis, prognosis, and plan for treatment for a very specific problem via email. Ophthalmology requires visual confirmation, in person, by the doctor. Your repeated description of new-onset floaters “as big a buildings” does not change these requirements. If you want my specific opinion on your specific condition, you will either have to visit my office, or seek a second opinion with a local, qualified eye care provider.

  72. reuel fernandes says:

    Hello doctor I wanted to ask you is it normal to have very big floaters because I got 2 very big floaters in each eye and 30 small floaters is it normal to have so big floaters because my floaters look big as a building I am 20 and so intence floaters are bothering me a lot

  73. reuel fernandes says:

    Hello doctor my speculation for my floaters is that 30 min after my eye exam which includes dilation I used the computer and watched TV and also accidently stared at a bright light bulb but my vision was blurry because of dilation could this damage my eyes or cause strain on eyes and caused floaters because my eyes were dilated and I used computer and tv and stared at bulbs

    • Please look back at my first and second responses to your query. I understand fully what you are trying to communicate and responded to your questions. Repeating the same question over does not change my response.

  74. reuel fernandes says:

    Hi doctor I had mentioned in my post before that after my eye exam which included dilation of eyes with eye drops I got eye floaters which are very big as a size of a building can you explain to me how could this happen.I ask you this question because your an doctor and you have dilated many of your patients eyes.

  75. reuel fernandes says:

    I had floater since I was 15 but after my eye exam which include dilation of eyes with eye drops and eye pressure test with puff air I developed large floaters in both my eyes the floaters look big as a building is it normal and did the dilation eye drops caused floaters to grow in size or did the puff air eye pressure check caused the floaters to increase in size and grow large can and 30 minutes after my eye exam I used the computer and accidently stared at light bulbs an my eyes were dilated did this do damage to the eye and caused floaters to increase because my eyes were dilated and I used a computer and stared at light bulbs

    • Thousands upon thousands of people are dilated all over the world every day. If this were a common or even rare occurrence, I should think I would hear about fairly often. If you have new floaters related to the eye exam, it is unfortunate. It would have to be a very, very rare occurrence, and one that is difficult to come up with an explanation as to why and how it occurred. Using a computer or looking at light would definitely NOT cause floaters.

  76. Halit says:

    Hi doctor,
    Sorry for my English because I dont know English well. I am 27 years old. In last month I percieved 5 gaussian blurred spots in different regions . And I wanna ask
    -How often occurs the complete blockade.
    -After Vitreous detechment, how the changes Vitreous viscosity. Because I am seeing green spots and after 3 seconds disappear. That is, when I move, my vitreous jel swings like water then hits my retina and then I am seeing green spots?
    -An Vitreous detechment sufferer have to be careful for which situations like runing, jumping or rapidly walking and etc.
    Thanks in advance.

    • “Gaussian” blurred spots? You must be an engineer or have spent too much time with Photoshop. That is a first.
      1. I have never seen a complete blockade of vision.
      2. “Green spots” is not a description I have heard associated with eye floaters. I don’t know how to answer that question.
      3. Someone who has had a true and completed vitreous detachment should not have to limit activities at all. I doubt from your age and your description that you have had a true posterior vitreous detachment. I have found some doctors call all floaters a “vitreous detachment”. Unless it is confirmed by, say, ultrasound imaging, I would be suspect of the diagnosis.

      • Halit says:

        Hi Doctor,
        Thanks for your sympathetic answer. I am both engineer and a user of photoshop :)
        I prepared a video that is my sight view
        here is the link;
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V2SpAFSFOc
        Baloon A== I know those are floats.But I cant see every time. I perceived before 25 days and day by day increase their value, volume, grayness
        Baloon B== Before 6 months, After 4 hour playing football, I percieved,
        But I cant see every time because it is like blurry things. When I look
        red color it will be red and when I look blue color it will be blue.
        But sometimes I am seeing gaussive gray. And under high ligth I am seeing 0:25 second of video frame, just like an arcwelding
        Baloon C== I am seeing gray wawes, may be floats
        Baloon D== When I look black things and then when I move my eyes, I am seeing flash of that things.
        Baloon E== Sometimes, I am seeing green-white spots and then diseppear. It is not small particles like stars, I think, because of vitreous jel
        So I am asking Doktor,
        -What do you think about baloon B, it is a retinal tear or not. I gone 3 doktor they said to me: there is no important thing
        -How can we decide that gray spots is a retinal tear or just a floats. Is there any difference.
        -In how much time occure complete vitreous detechment. that is, it will ended
        -Some times, I am feeling big pain in my right eye(baloon B here) and big pain in muscless on right cheek under right eye,I am suffering from lights,
        -And I know you are not magician,because there is no any laboratory result, It will be very hard,
        Thanks and sorry for my English in advance
        Best regards

        • The link to your video does not show up in the comments, but I was able to go to it and view it. Thanks for the time and effort to put it together. I can not answer you specific diagnostic or prognostic questions. It is not about magic, but being a responsible medical provider. I can not be the “free, geographically remote, diagnostician for your unresolved medical problems doctor”. How can I possible confirm or refute your local eye doctor’s evaluation and conclusion. It is ethically and medico-legally irresponsible to do so. If you are younger than 35 or so, I would be very surprised if you are experiencing a TRUE posterior vitreous detachment. You need to find a local eye care provider that communicates well, is willing to take the time to answer your questions, but you may have to accept that the best they can do is reassure you that your retina appears fine, and they may not be able to confirm the presence of your floaters. They are VERY difficult to find, even if you (that is, the doctor) is very motivated to find them.

  77. Ash says:

    hey there. informative read, thanks for the article. i have had widespread growing health problems for the past 5 years or so, and i am now 31. it started with digestive problems (i believe relate to my genetic susceptibility to all the gmos they are force feeding us now) which led to multiple food intolerances and progressed into arthritis type cyst like bone protrusions, and visual floaters. i have felt like i have widespread cancer, autoimmune or some form of systemic disease for years but they wont diagnose it and just shut me down. anyway, the very first time i began to have vision problems my entire vision went blurry. i could not see clearly out of either eye. during this point i went in for an emergency evaluation but they found nothing. a few weeks to a month after this initial ‘blurring’ , my vision cleared up mostly but i began to see spots form. it seems like i was hit with some kind of eye infection/disease with the blurring and the floaters are the continual aftermath until i go blind. the floaters increase in number month after month. they are the black spots/specs/strand kinds, and not the clear crystal worm kind. i have been seen about 3 times over the progression of these floaters and the opthamologists never see anything.

    i have read about immune deficiencies in conjunction with cytomegalovirus which can lead to visual floaters and eventual retinal detachment, yet they never diagnose me with aids or anything related either. i have to mention that i also have about 4-5 other friends who see these floaters too. could this be an underreported epidemic? (i mean geez there are so many. just look at how small they want us to believe the growing epidemic of gluten intolerance is. and i pretty much believe the 2 could very well be related) it seems to me we are entering an era of new diseases with all of our new dangerous biotechnologies and these are neither diagnosable nor treatable. but thats just speculation of course, heh. just recently i have been fighting a terrible flu and now i notice that when i close my right eye, my left eye can barely read at a distance. everything is blurred far away :/ …in addition my right eye now has 2 blind spots? they are not like the black floaters but instead 2 blurred spots that seem to be completely blind. i accept the fact that i am most likely dying and do not have much longer… but i wanted to describe my eye symptoms and get an opinion.

    do these progressing eye symptoms sound like retinal detachment? despite opthamologists lack of findings? i remember reading that there is an operation they can do to like, sauder the retina to prevent its continued detachment but that this leaves you with permenant blurred vision and about 20% the vision you used to have. even seeing a blur for the rest of life would be better than seeing darkness though. i hope that before that happens, i will have that option. sorry for the length of this, but i just have so many details and concerns. what should i even do about this since no opthomologists will see anything? ive investigated homeopathic options with substances such as eyebright which seemed to have cured many peoples eye problems but i couldn’t keep up with it as i was not noticing any improvemnt after a few weeks. thanks for any response

    • The internet can be a great resource, but it can also lead you deep down various rabbit holes. Unless you have a known immunodeficiency an intraocular infection as you described as a cause of floaters would essentially unheard of. The presenter of one YouTube video declared with apparent authority that all floaters were caused by Candida Yeast infections. News to me. Of course he led you to his web site where he is selling a program or system or supplement to eradicate systemic yeast infections. It probably attract the same type of personality that thinks all physicians are in the pocket of big pharma and the [fill in your own] conspiracy. It might be the same type attracted to the magic of homeopathy. Magic because homeopathic treatments are often so diluted that no molecules of the listed agent are in the container. So yeah, it doesn’t surprise me the homeopathic treatment didn’t work.
      Entropy and disorder happens. Floaters occur in otherwise very healthy eyes. The cause in young people is likely multifactorial and we may not know for a long time. Furthermore, I think the best treatment for these common floaters in younger people has not been invented yet.
      As far as your specific eye symptoms, I can not render a diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment recommendation without examining the eye. If you you do not have a retinal tear or separation, why would you be looking into the prospect of a laser retinopexy. Like I said, the internet can be a dangerous thing if you don’t have the right information filters on board.

  78. Zhang says:

    Hello Doctor. I’m 29 and have had floaters for 16 years. I understand that typical floaters are like translucent “crystal worms”, so are most of those in my eyes. However, I occasionally notice an opaque needle-head-size black dot in my left eye, whose eyesight is better than the other. It moves as the eye moves.
    My questions are:
    1. Is it normal that floaters come in the second form I described above?
    2. I have often read that “flashlight” accompanies floaters. Could you let me know what exactly this symptom is like?
    Thanks a lot.

    • It all may be a variation of normal. There are always going to be some abnormalities of the vitreous, although most are probably without symptoms. What you describe is not uncommon from the description I hear from those suffering floaters.
      The “flashes” that commonly accompany the onset of new floaters is associated with a posterior vitreous detachment or less likely, retinal holes, tears, and detachments. Flashes are not expected in the younger patient without a PVD.

      • Zhang says:

        Thank you doctor. I have two more questions if you don’t mind.
        1. When floaters in my right eye became more visible, examination showed that its eyesight dropped. Are floaters and eyesight correlated?
        2. When I squint, I can see a lot more floater-like bubbles or circles occupying my vision. But they are difficult to detect when I fully open my eyes. Is it common?
        Thank you again.

        • 1. Floaters usually affect the quality of vision, rarely does it affect the measure Snellen chart visual acuity unless it is large enough and intermittently obstructs vision. Occasionally there are some broad and diffuse cloud-like floaters that can decrease measured visual acuity.
          2. Squinting creates a pinhole effect. Like a small aperture in a camera lens, much more will be in focus. This is a normal phenomenon with floaters sufferers.

      • Laura says:

        I’m quite concerned about my eyes. I’ve had floaters I think since I was 12 years old (now I’m 23). They have become worse over the years (bigger, more and moving more). I also have these flashes of light I see especially when I’m looking at a white wall / white computer screen. They are really small and dissappear within a second, but they occur pretty often. I visited a doctor specialized in floaters in my country 2 years ago and he told me that my floaters were not treatable with YAG laser (probably too close to the retina I guess). However, he told me that the flashes could be normal as well. But now that I read this post I’m getting quite concerned again. Is it indeed possible that these flashes in combination with the floaters are innocent, or could they be a precursor of PVD? I have to add to this that I am pretty nearsighted as well, I’ve heard that these symptoms may be part of the nearsightedness as well, is that true?

        • I can not offer specific medical advice to your specific condition. I don’t wish to cause false alarm or offer false reassurances. Based on your age and previous evaluation, you are not likely a candidate for the YAG laser treatment for your floaters. Flashes of light would not normally be a part myopia and are usually associated with a PVD as you suggested. PVD’s is someone your age would be relatively rare, though.

          • Laura says:

            Thank you for your fast reply.
            I am still wondering about the flashes though. I read that they should appear as lights flickering on and off very fast, so that you see a flash over the whole visual area, in the case of PVD.
            In my case though, I can best describe the flashes as a very small group of ‘pixels’ I see somewehere in my visual field, that give a very short white flash and then dissappear after blinking. Most of the time I don’t even see them because they are so small, only if I concentrate on a one-colour background. Could these flashes be different from the ones experienced in PVD?

          • The visual phenomenon you describe could be something besides a true PVD, especially given your age. If you have further concerns you should get a local re-evaluation. I can not render a diagnosis over the internet.

  79. Anna says:

    Thank you for your reply… These floaters that I am seeing do not move. These 2 black dots are in the same exact spot for almost a year. I’m starting to get used to it but if I want to I can stare at them for hours and they do not “float”. Floaters are supposed to move, correct? Well these 2 black dots and clear structures have been located in the same spot of my vision, never moving/floating… Are these floaters if they don’t float?

    • Your observations are duly noted. I am not sure what your expectations are for me. I have not examined your eye and can not render a definitive diagnosis. I can only speak in generalizations under these circumstances. If you need another exam and/or second opinion, do so.

  80. Anna says:

    I am 26 years old and developed eye floaters about a year ago. I see 2 tiny black dots surrounded by clear worm like structures. I went NorthWestern and they were unclear as to what it may be. They stated that it may be “Stationary Floater which are very rare”.
    Its been almost a year now and they havent moved/changed. I’m starting to get used to them but are very visable when I look at a bright background. Do these sound like stationary floaters and will they go away? do i have anything to be concerned about??

    Thank you!

    • “Stationary Floaters” by itself is an oxymoron, Like George Carlin’s famous “Jumbo Shrimp”. Floaters move around. That is why they are called floaters. By your description, they sound like the typical floaters of the younger patient type that I come across. I get questions about these almost every day from all over the world.

      • Anna says:

        These floaters dont “move around”. These 2 tiny black dots and lines follow with my vision but they have always been in the same location since I develeoped them a year ago. They stay in the same spot and never go away. I’m started to get used to them so they dont bother me as much but they are stuck in the corner of my vision and if I wanted to I can stare at them all day.
        They never move around.

  81. LS says:

    Hi doctor When I look to the light whit my eyes closed I see two “bubbles” flickering in the corner, and a spot appears when I move my eyes, also when I rub my eyelid I se bright spots with my eyes open, since I wasn’t obssessed with my eyes I didn’t noticed these things before, now I go outside (sunny day) I see rings flashing

    • I am not really sure what you are describing. These may be floaters but they are not described in an odd fashion and so I think it would be irresponsible of me to make some sort of diagnosis without the opportunity to examine the eyes. If you have not already, I would recommend a local eye exam by a qualified eye care professional.

  82. Ronald says:

    I have very distinct eye floaters but i am only 12. Would eye supplement or natrual vitamin pills help my condition? Thankyou for your help.

    • I am sorry but I cannot recommend any supplement or vitamin that would be helpful. You can find some by searching the Internet, but none of them have been found to be effective. If they were, I would be selling them myself.

  83. puja says:

    good morning doctor,just a simple question i wanted to ask.. can i see the tears or holes in my retina myself??i am asking because i see some black spots (that does not move) when i squint my eyes realy hard

  84. Gilberto says:

    Hi, I have questions. I’m 22 and I’ve had floaters on both my eyes since I was 17 on my right eye I have a small string floater that doesn’t bother me at all I can live with it, but on my left I see this huge cotton like substance sorta like looking through a snow globe it really bothers my vision I have to swirl it around constantly just so that I can see a bit better and I do it so often by the end of the day my eyes hurt, this floater causes a lot of strain for my eyes, my questions are, is it normal for me to have such a huge floater that take up about 75% of my left eye’s vision at my age? Also could I possible be a candidate for this type of procedure? If not what other options do I have that you would recommend, I’d really would love to get this floater removed, doing so would bring so much relief to my eyes and improve the quality of my life immensely. Thank you for taking the time to read

    • No. That is not normal. A floater as you have described -taking up 75% of your visual field- is significantly more than I would expect of the floaters in young people. If you haven’t already, you should have a thorough eye examination by a qualified provider to rule out other possible causes (e.g. inflammation, etc.). There is not enough information to determine if you are a candidate for laser treatment.

  85. Nora says:

    Hello doctor.
    I have a general question regarding cases like this that you see on a normal basis. I know sometimes people (especially young adults) that have a health phobia and are borderline hypochondriac would notice things like floaters more easily. This happens to me many times, and even now in school when we learn about different diseases I start believing that I have those symptoms! I recently noticed a “floater” but I’m not sure if I had it a while ago or I just noticed it recently (I’m 22 years old).
    How often do you have cases of young patients coming in saying they have floaters and are almost positive they have retinal problems but in reality it’s a harmless floater vs. cases where it really is a serious problem? Just as a general idea.

    Thank you very much!

    • I haven’t seen any young patients overly concerned about retinal problems and none who actually had a retinal problem. I think most that I have seen are understandable bothered by the moving shadows in their vision, but not so much I’d label them as hypochondriacal.

  86. shafik says:

    Hello docter am a 21 year old student living in Canada in Vancouver in college getting of degree in business administration.I have been have lots of lines dots and about 8 circles of round shaped balls move around in my vision they seem to change position everyday there in a different spot.Do u think I can be treated with the laser its making my studies very hard and annoying to me especially when I look at lights or screens and do u know anyone in Canada with the experience.If not I was thinking of making an appointment and visiting u in person even with small treatment percentage.But u are the one I think with the experience I visited 3 doctors they told me ignore them.

    • Shafik, The floater-sufferer’s age is the best predictor or their likely candidacy for both safe and effective treatment with the laser. If you have read through my many responses to variations of this inquiry, you will find a consistent theme – younger patients are not usually candidates for treatment. There is an occasional exceptions here and there, but they are exceptional. If you wish to visit my practice, I won’t turn you away, but I will not encourage you with false optimism. Read more HERE if you haven’t already.

      • shafik says:

        So the floaters in young patients are likely to sit near the retina.Everyday doc they are in a different place I have maybe over 15 floaters in my vision there changing shapes and places everyday.does this mean they are close or maybe some of them might be in a safe place to treat.What If I see a doc in Canada who can just tell me where my floaters are,if they are in a treatable position the doc will tell me.If so do u think I should take the chance and travel to California.

        • THIS should answer your question. Since other doctors don’t have the experience treating floaters, I can not rely of their assessment of the location of floaters. Your floaters may move around (by definition ALL floaters move around), but they may just slide along or near the surface of the retina – not necessarily moving away from the retina.

  87. Deli M says:

    Hi, ive had a floater in my eye since i was 12 from what i can remember seeing dark spots when i would look outside or somewhere bright. I am currently 21 now and i feel like its gotten bigger and longer when i try and focus on it when I move my eye around. What would my eye doctor do if he checked my eye too see about it. Mainly, what would he have to say about it or do for me since your the only one who could actually get it out of my eye? why waste money to go to the eye doctor if i already know what it is. And if there are any kinds of foods to eat or remedies to do that could maybe shrink it or maybe even take it away? Thankyou!

    • I generally do not find the eye exam results from other doctors to be very helpful in predicting the “treatability” with the laser. IF they do see something, it could be THIS. Without the experience in treating floaters, there don’t have the ability to predict treatment success. In younger patients it is very difficult for me as well, and this is all I do. The age of the patient is probably the strongest predictor of treatability.

  88. Nithya says:

    Hi doc,
    I have got a cataract surgery in my left eye before 20 days. I from last night I started seeing a small floater in my operated eye. Is this normal.

    • It depends on what you consider normal. It is relatively common, and may be the onset of a typical eye floater, or it could be something more serious. This is a question better pose to you eye doctor who performed the surgery. I don’t want to give false reassurances without knowing anything about your eye.

  89. elsanxs says:

    Hi!

    I first noticed had my floaters at my age of 23. It was one floater back then. Now I had 3 of them ‘looking after’ my eye. Unfortunately, I had a flash light sometimes last month. Maybe twice. But one time it is i am very confirmed. It was on an evening. So afraid and until now I have yet to see my doctor to get a result.

    Is there anyone at my age now about 27, having retinal detachment? If I had my laser eye for that, how many days it will take to be cured? Thanks

    • Instead of asking random people that may or may not have a similar condition (and no way to confirm that they do, or do not), it seems to make more sense to see a qualified eye care provider locally to get an exam and treatment if it is indicated. That doctor will be much more qualified to put you findings into perspective. You need a diagnosis first before can proffer a prognosis.

  90. Katy says:

    One you, Dr. Geller, and Dr. K retire, who will pick up in your stead and use a YAG laser to treat floaters? Do you think this procedure may simply become unavailable in the US?

    • I’ve got many, many years ahead of me. Can’t speak for the others. It would be very difficult to train someone else. I certainly would not want to have another doctor treating someone for the first time in my office, under my supervision, putting me at medico-legal risk. A treating doctor really needs to put in the Malcolm-Gladwellian 10,000 hours to get really good, or at least a hundred thousand laser shots.

  91. Sudarsha says:

    Dear sir,
    I have been also seeing this king of floters when i was in 12age
    now i’m 15
    How can i solve this problem sir ?

    • Sudarsha, your letter and concerns are pretty typical of those addressed to me by younger floater-sufferers. Please read the following: FAQ’s for young people with floaters. It should answer your questions. Occasionally and rarely, I can treat a younger patient, but these are exceptional and impossible to predict in advance by either the patient’s description, or by their doctor’s exam records. It is possible that the solution for your problem has not been invented yet.

  92. sana says:

    hi, i am a girl i’m 24 years old , from israel i have floater for 6 monthes ago (myopia -13 r, -9 l) (white without pressure pereferical in the right eye) , i didnt understand which exams i have to do whith my personal doctor and to send to check if i can be treated with laser , can i have it with a link?
    please i wait for answer i can’t live with this anymore ,i cannot study , i’m beginning to hate the light , comupter , the sun .
    thank you so much

    • Sana, your letter and concerns are pretty typical of those addressed to me by younger floater-sufferers. Please read the following: FAQ’s for young people with floaters. It should answer your questions. Occasionally and rarely, I can treat a younger patient, but these are exceptional and impossible to predict in advance by either the patient’s description, or by their doctor’s exam records. I do not use imaging or other technological gizmos to assess the floaters. I do a thorough, dilated eye exam with 2-3 different lenses/scopes. I know what I am looking for. If you doctor does not treat floaters, they will not be able to reliably assess your condition as to your “treatability” with the YAG laser, unfortunately.

  93. gabriel says:

    Hi doctor,
    i’m just 22 years old and started seeing floaters at about 2 years ago. I went to a good eye doctor and my eyes were checked a couple of times and was told that i had ”just” floaters. They are severe and really annoying, but my vision is 20/20. My question is: i realized that when i had my pupils dilated, i didn’t see any floater, but when it got normal size again the floaters were all there again, why does it happen? is there a way to safe keep the pupils dilated so as not to see floaters ( although the vision gets a little blurried and really sensitive to light)? and what do you think about future treatments? with your experience do you think that will be a remedie or a surgery in a closer future to safe treat it? If you could talk a little about treatments in the future i would apreciate. Thank you very much. ( sorry if there is something wrong with my english, i’m from brazil).

    • There is a reason office buildings use broad light sources like fluorescent light panels instead of a series of halogen spotlights. The shadows are minimized and softer and de-focused with the broad light panels. There are some similarities inside the eye. Light entering the eye from a dilated pupil is from a larger, broader light source compared to a very small pupil.
      Floaters are actually the shadows of the collagen proteins being cast onto the retina. Larger pupils a you have with lower ambient light diminish the apparent shadows. Its just optics.
      I am not aware of any new developments, or interest in new developments for the treatment of floaters in the foreseeable future. There is a better laser, but right now it is just in my head. The device manufacturers are not going to invests hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to sell just a couple of lasers. Not likely anyways.

  94. Sanjida says:

    Hi doctor, I am 26, female. i recently started seeing these floaters in my right eye. There was an itching sensation as well, no flashes or reduced visibility. Its very much similar to the black dot shown in the image of your article. Its a matter of focusing; sometimes i am not thinking about it i can’t see it but sometimes it comes in the way of the pupil which makes me aware of it. I went to a doctor and after thourough examination they said my eye looks healthy. Only problem is that my eye looked a bit dry so they gave me Optive (drops) to lubricate the eye. I understand that why the floater is not visible to the doctor and I know nothing can be said without diagnosis. Although i would like to ask you if its actually possible that the floaters may have been caused by dry eyes and if that is so is it possible for the floaters to go away someday as they appeared? Or can they actually go away without any treatment or anything?

  95. Erlend says:

    Hi

    Are the floater operations likely to be safer in 10 years or so?

    Erlend

  96. puja says:

    what are the tests that are required to be done to detect any tear or abnormality in retina?? are the floaters necesary to be seen to detect the cause behind them?? i mean as this site says that floaters in young patients are not seen or barely seen by the doctors,so is retinal tear or detachment also not seen by doctors??

    • The test to detect a tear or rent in the retina is a thorough, dilated eye examination by a qualified, experienced eye doctor. Your second question: “Are the floaters necesary to be seen to detect the cause behind them?” is not really answerable. Whether they are seen or not seen by the examiner will not likely help determine the cause of the floaters. A retinal tear can be missed on examination, of course. They are far peripheral, and the optics are lousy out there. In my experience, the micro-floaters associated with young people are harder to visualize on exam. They are small and being translucent, have very little contrast with the underlying structure. It is like trying to find a sliver of fiberglas, in the bottom of a swimming pool, at night, with a flashlight.

      • puja says:

        so it means after being checked by an indirect opthalmoscope i cannot be sure that i dont have a tear..

        • you wrote: “i mean as this site says that floaters in young patients are not seen or barely seen by the doctors,so is retinal tear or detachment also not seen by doctors??” , then more recently, “so it means after being checked by an indirect ophthalmoscope i cannot be sure that i don’t have a tear..“.
          So what is it that you want? Do you want a guarantee? Why are you asking me? I haven’t even examined your eye. If you are not satisfied with the examination(s) you have received, address it with the doctor who examined you. If you are asking if it is possible to have an exam and have the doctor miss the diagnosis, well, yes it is possible. That is why it is called “the practice” of medicine and not “the perfection” of medicine. -Dr. J

  97. Bb says:

    My floater 5mnths ago but my problem is they seems to turn red when i spend muchtime in d sun and at times at night bt dis red floater sometimes make it difficult readind some few words unles they disappear. Have had my pupil dilated 5mnths ago the Opthalm told me my eyes were healthy. What do u think Dr. Thanx

    • I think that I do not have enough information to be able to make any specific comments on your particular situation. It would be irresponsible to do so. Sorry I can’t more helpful. – Dr. Johnson

  98. Selena says:

    I’m a 16 years old female. About a month ago, I’ve been getting these strange flashes of light in the far corner of my left eye. These flashes are bright and white, in the shape of a circle or slanted parallelogram. They used to just start from the bottom of my eye and move in a curved motion as it moved up to the top of my eye. They started out few and slow moving, but after a few weeks they’ve become more frequent and faster moving. Sometimes I feel the faintest pressure on my eye when the flash happens, but it does not hurt me. Now the flashes are getting faster and much more frequent, and a few days ago, the light (was in the far corner of my left eye, when I say middle of eye, I mean middle of the corner) appeared in the middle and then split off into two separate lights that, one moved up, and the other moved down, in opposite directions. These flashes happen when there is a change in lighting, if I move my eyes a certain direction, or sometime just randomly. I noticed that the flashes are most frequent when the light changes, or if I dart my eyes, but now they are starting to be very frequent. I went to the eye doctors last week, and did tell them about these flashes, and the doctor said “everything looks healthy”. I don’t think this is normal, and have been looking online at possibilities, but think its best to get your opinion, even if its a guess. Should I go back to the doctors so soon? And is this bad? Cancer? Vision damaging? (if this is any important information = I am nearsighted and I have astigmatism in my right eye, and I have been seeing the floaters since I was around 10. And I wear contacts) Thank you for your time, I’m just a little freaked out…..

  99. Reuel Fernandes says:

    Hello doctor I had some floaters since I was 15 but after doing an eye dilation exam the floaters have become big and dark and have increased can you tell me what can cause this problem

  100. Ben says:

    Hi Doc,

    Recently Ive observed what seems to be a mucusy or cloudy film in my vision that I can see moving with my eye movement back and forth when i look at bright lights. There is a cloudy haze over the lights. Is this normal? I had a full eye exam a few months ago and everything was normal. Im myopic (-4.25) and have fam history of cataracts and macular degeneration. This film seems new to me, and i have floaters that have always been there. I cant readily see the film without a light or white screen to look at. Im age 36.

    • That doesn’t sound normal to me. General rule of thumb: Moving shadows or haze associated with head or eye movements is some irregularity in the vitreous. Not tear layer, not cornea, not lens, not retina, not optic nerve, not visual cortex. That irregularity may not necessarily be considered “pathology” or part of any eye disease, but it would not be the normal expectation of good quality vision. It could be a fine, hazy change of the vitreous that may be very difficult to see or just not very impressive to the examining eye doctor.

  101. Talha says:

    Hello Dr. Johnson! Hope you are fine. I am anticipating a career in commercial aviation and am a bit concerned on account of my eyes. Although I have had complete PVD in both eyes, the lattice degeneration present in my left eye is a potential risk factor for retinal tear and detachment. I also have a history of retinal detachment in my family. I would like to ask you that is the visual acuity affected after undergoing retinal detachment surgery? Waiting for your response. I am 22 by the way.

    • First understand that visual acuity is not a comprehensive measure of that which we call “vision”. Vision includes the small central angle of resolution (measured as Snellen chart visual acuity at 20 feet or equivalent). It also includes visual fields measuring peripheral vision, optical and alignment balance between the eyes, aberration, color vision, contrast sensitivity, etc. So someone could have a significant retinal detachment and still have good visual acuity if the central retina is still attached.
      So to answer you question, like any doctor, I’ll answer it with “it depends”. It depends on how much of the retina is affected, what type of intervention, how early intervention took place, etc. There is no simple answer.
      By the way, I would be suspect that a 22 year old actually had bilateral PVDs. It would be unusual.

  102. Sonia says:

    My son is 20 and has just been diagnosed with vitreous detachment in both eyes. A friend of his who works as an Optometrist has asked a colleague of hers who is an Opthalmogist about my son and he has said he should get a second opinion because a 20 year old having vitreous detachment is the equivalent of a 65 year old woman being pregnant. Do you agree? Do you think he should get a second opinion?

    • Great metaphor. I agree that it would be very unlikely that a 20 year old had PVD’s. I have seen where some eye care providers will equate floaters to PVD. That might be the case. It may just be an issue of the proper use of the term, not a medical or therapeutic decision-making issue. In other words, if the term “PVD” was used to describe your son’s condition, it would not alter a treatment recommendation, which pretty much is going to be “do nothing and learn to live with it“, anyways.

  103. badr says:

    hey doc am 24 years old and just started experiencing floaters curvy lines and dots like small particles when I look at a sky in the dark or screens and even in college its effecting the quality of my life I live in dubia probably at least 22 hours by plane but your my only chance I have to maybe reduce or move some am preety sure there not all close to the retina and iv read what u wrote about younger patients hard to treat but am willing to traval and see I might not be the a good candidate for treatment but maybe u can reduce them I have many my life is on the line thank u a lot

  104. Joseph says:

    Dr. Johnson I’m 28 with 20/20 vision; noticed floaters in one eye back in February of this year went to a doctor here in Michigan was told the typical everything is healthy. I experience the same crystal worm style floaters. However the floaters I have are not always crisp and in focus. Every one on here that says they don’t notice them as much unless they are thinking about them must roughly have a similar scenario as me. I wonder if its not so much as whether you are aware of them at any given moment in time because you are just randomly thinking about them or its because you notice them easier when your eyes focus on different objects closer/farther away. When I was checked for floaters and had dilated eyes, I could NOT see these same floaters for hours afterwards. My experience with the floaters in my eye is they focus out by becoming slightly larger/blurry and fade to such a non irritating transparency. They are almost 80-90% transparent when out of focus.

    The question is even though I can sometimes perfectly see the shape of the floaters but other times because of the eye focusing at different distances in my case focusing on closer objects fades the floaters quite well. Does this necessarily mean the floaters are most likely still to close to the retina?

    I have the impression if you can see floaters at all in any focus even blurred out enough where you can’t make out the physical shape and under 4o years of age you are not a good candidate, and again with dilated eyes I don’t see any floaters. The doctor who checked my eyes could identify floaters.

    I have for the last 7-8 months not been to bothered with the floaters (I was freaking at first and since then became use to them) however what concerns me is I will have from time to time a very slight numbing pain behind the same eye with the floaters. On a scale of 1-10 it would only be a 1, the closest thing I have researched that sound like what I could have is optic neuritis. My reason for thinking so is because the other symptom is this same eye is 5-7% dimmer in seeing light intensity. This has been like this for a while and not become any worse so I have not worried about.

    I know your not in a position to diagnose any issue just wondering your thoughts on the floaters?

    • Small floaters like you have described should not affect your perception of overall brightness of light intensity. Past or active episodes of optic neuritis could, but so can other conditions.
      There can be some natural variability in your awareness of your floaters based on attention/distraction, ambient light, background “business” or “Bland homogeneity”, pupil size, as well as even very small fluctuations (<1mm) antero-posterior movement of the floaters. The statement that your doctor "could identify floaters", may/may not be helpful. They may have seen some vitreous irregularity, but there is no assurance that what they saw is responsible for the moving shadows that are bothering you most (more on that HERE). The floaters that are problematic in younger patients are VERY difficult to find with typical ophthalmic lenses and exam techniques. They can be really, really difficult to find.

  105. Laura S says:

    Hello, Dr. Johnson,
    My name is Laura, I am 30, I am from Romania and I accidentally found your website. I am also dealing with eye floaters for about 1.5 months. I am quite desperate because they seem to increase and improve, meaning that if I first had a very very soft line (like cobwebs) with a dot in the middle of it, it improves in a few days and bothers me more. I am also bothered because these cobwebs and squggly lines tend to blur any source of light which passes in frond of my eyes, like tv or some street lights in the night. Working on the computer at least 8 hours a day it is a real nuisance on the white background. Unfortunatelly mine are settled in my central view, so even if a rotate my eyes they settle in this position. I also developed some floaters on the peripheric areas of sight, but they don’t bother me as much. If I look to a source of light with eyelids almost closed I can see clearly the cobwebs made of transparent cells and which is their structure, but I also have some areas of bubbles, hundreds of perfect little circles (transparent), that are clustered together, and areas of fine blurry lines like finerprints, which I am almost sure that will develop in cobwebs later. I am pretty convinced there is not much I can do about it, but I am interested in what do you think of the supplement called Viteroclar + and how worse they can get, regarding the fact that I never had eye problems before, at the last control (last week) I was told my eyes were perfect, but she could see the aglomerations of collagene falling like a curtain when blinking, and that I have to get used to it. I am scared because until a month ago I didn’t notice any floater, then I only had one in my right eye, than one in my left one, and now I have many and their number is increasing almost daily, sometimes I it feels like being in a fish tank due to their soft movement inside the eye. Is it possible that the liquid inside the eye turns all in bubbles and cobwebs someday??Is it possible they will stop developing? I am depressed and anxious about this fact, I also became a hypocondriac, searching any other serious causes for these floaters.
    I am looking forward to see your answer! Thank you!

    • Vitreoclar comes from an Italian pharmaceutical company and consists of Collagen, Glucosamine and Vitamin E. All three harmless, Probably helpful if you are having joint problems or arthritis symptoms, but I don’t see how it will benefit the floater problem. Floaters are not caused by a deficiency of collagen, so supplementing should not help/ Plus the vitreous is protected by the blood-brain barrier, and large macromolecules like collagen should not even get into the vitreous at all.
      I have commented time and time again about the problems and challenges of floaters in young people. The laser is rarely an effective treatment option for the younger floater-sufferer.

      • Laura S says:

        If you think Vitreoclar is not helpful, than what about Vitreoxygen? Does its components get inside the eye through blood?

        http://www.oogroup.it/bioos/en/int_vitreoxigen.html

        this one shoud be. which is your opinion?
        Thank you!

        • FROM THEIR WEBSITE:
          “The ingredients in VITREOXIGEN® interact in many metabolic processes in tissues and the vitreous, helping to optimize the intake of energy and replenish the store of amino acids, mineral salts and vitamins when there is an increase in need or reduced dietary intake.
          VITREOXIGEN® can be used in the case of increased need for or reduced dietary intake of the nutrients which it contains.”

          Vitreous collagen proteins are not living, breathing, metabolically active cells. Even IF it got into the vitreous, I don’t know how it would affect the floaters.

  106. puja says:

    thank you.. i will be waiting,and i will pray you have nothing serious.. good luck :-)

  107. puja says:

    hi talha,when i went through your problem it felt it was me describing mine.. i.am going throgh some problems right now and so cannot visit an optha.. did you go to a retina specialist?what did he say?

    • Talha says:

      I have still to visit one. My appointment is scheduled for 8th October. Will tell you what he diagnoses when I return. Hang in there!

      • puja says:

        thank you.. i will be waiting,and i will pray you have nothing serious.. good luck :-)

        • Talha says:

          So I visited the doctor yesterday and had a very detailed exam. Turns out there are some minute lattice degenerative holes in my left eye which are caused due to high myopia and family history of retinal tears. Although the condition is nothing serious, the doctor advised regular six-monthly followups. I have recently had complete PVD in my right eye and progressing PVD in my left eye and the increase in floaters is due to this. The doctor said these floaters will subside slowly with time as they settle down at the bottom of the eye. I explained the afterimages condition and was told that it is totally normal.

  108. puja says:

    hi doctor.. i have kind of same problems as talha.,a year back i noticed lots of floaters,this freaked me out and i went to an optha to get my eyes checked,he said they were perfect and yes i have perfect vision.. eventually i got used to them and started ignoring them.. but recently i started getting worried about them again and i more thing i too get lots of after images.. i am 21 with 20/20 vision,can you suggest me something,i am worried like hell and this is effecting my life like anything

    • I can not provide individualized, specific recommendations to your condition. I don’t have much to add above and beyond my lengthy thoughts and comments already on the web site.

    • puja says:

      thanks a lot for the reply,would be glad if you could answer this.. as i am 21,not nearsighted,didnot ever have any accident,what are my chances of having retinal detachment?

      • I can not render specific medical advice like that without establishing a doctor-patient relationship AND examining your eye. And even after an examination, there is no accurate way to predict that. IF I said there was a 10% chance over your lifetime, how would that affect your decisions, activity, behaviour? Would it be different if it were 5% or 20%. I am not omniscient in these matters. Your local doctors are better suited to answering these questions for you.

        • puja says:

          thank you for being so patient and answering those stupid questions of mine.. please be a little more patient and see if you can answer this..
          i have heard that some retinal tears doesnot require treatment as they do not lead to subsequent detachment,is this true?? and also how long does a tear takes to lead to detachment?? i have heard the minimum duration to be “immediately”.. is this true?? what is the maximum duration??
          and also can flights make a tear lead to detachment??
          i need to fly too often for my seminars and projects,just want to get sure if flights can effect my floaters..

          please do ans these,

          • Some small, peripheral holes in the retina may not need to be repaired. Some are sealed back down by the time the examination is performed. It is the doctor’s judgment as to whether something needs to be done or not. How long will it take to lead to a detachment?, well theoretically forever if it is not going to lead to a detachment. Will flights lead to detachment? It depends on how vigorously you are flapping your arms…just kidding. Changes in atmospheric pressure should not have any effect on the eye pressure or vitreous itself. The issue comes into place after a retina repair surgery where a large gas bubble is placed in the eye. They can not fly because of expansion of the gas bubble at higher elevations even in a pressurized cabin.

  109. Talha says:

    Hello Dr. Johnson! Hope you are doing well. I contacted you about a month ago when I first started noticing a change in the quantity of my floaters. Your response put me at ease about them and I gradually stopped giving them much thought (even though I could still see them everyday). Lately however, I have gotten very concerned about them again as I can clearly see that their population is on a steep rise. One shocking thing that I discovered was that about a week ago I happened to look at a flourescent light and noticed literally hundreds of small cell-like particles floating around inside my eye. Each cell has a dense greyish center with a whitish outline surrounding it. The strange thing is that they are visible only when I look at a strong source of light or when I squint my eyes really hard and concentrate. I noticed that the floaters which I can see under normal lighting conditions were very densely packed with these cells. I must point out here that they are different from blue field entoptic phenomenon which I am also able to perceive when I look up at the sky. Another condition that I have noticed is increased after-images and longer burn-in times when I look at something in bright light. I also see faint halos around people against the white background of my walls.

    All of the above described conditions have really brought down the quality of my life as I keep thinking about them 24/7. I met with two ophthalmologists last month one of whom told them that I have a weak retina due to myopia (-5.75) and family history of retinal tears. Although I plan to visit a retina specialist soon, I would really appreciate if you would be so kind as to give me a general diagnosis of what’s going on inside my eyes. Thank you!

    P.S. I am 22 years of age.

    • I’m sorry. It would be irresponsible for me to do so without the opportunity of examining the eyes personally. You are describing phenomenon that are not typical or common and deserves a thorough, local examination. Your appointment with a local vitreo-retinal specialist is the more appropriate course of action. You doctor may examine your eyes and say “totally normal appearance” and looks healthy. There may not be a simple answer/diagnosis for you. The patient will always be able to see things (like individual cells) that the examiner can not.

      • Talha says:

        Thank you for your reply! I will surely get it checked by a specialist. However, I do have one question that has been bugging me for so long and that is, if I opt for a vitrectomy, will the eyeball eventually get refilled with the natural vitreous gel or will the gas/oil injected during surgery remain inside for life?

        • Once the vitreous is removed as part of a vitrectomy it doesn’t return. The removed vitreous is exchanged with an electrolyte saline (“Balanced Salt Solution = BSS”. It becomes part of a larger pool of fluid and joins the aqueous fluid which is usually limited to the front of the eye. All of it will eventually be filtered out of the eye’s natural filtration/drainage of the aqueous and the BSS is diluted and replaced with aqueous fluid. This takes about a week or longer. The vitreous, because its viscosity and elastic nature does not participate in this drainage system through the trabecular meshwork so there is no natural mechanism to clear any floaters contained within the vitreous.

  110. Adam says:

    Hi Dr.
    I’d like to say I am very glad to finally find some info on this. I have been seeing floaters as long as I can remember, I have a very good memory and I can tell you that they were surely around from the age of 4-5. I am almost 29, the type I see you called “crystal like worm-floaters”, which you responded to “kelly moore” with an incredibly accurate photo. This is more or less what I see, I can summon them any time I choose and kind of “follow them” across my eye (though they probably just ‘follow’ the movement of my eye), though from time to time they will just appear and I can kind of ‘ignore’ (stop seeing) them if I choose.

    They have never ever bothered, disturbed or limited me in any way, shape or form.

    Beyond that I also see some other things, after much research the closest thing I found to it is called “visual snow” but it’s not that exactly. At least from many descriptions and testimonials that I read, none perfectly matched. Nor did any of the photos trying to simulate the “disorder”, ever come close to a match. This also has never really bothered me or effected my eye sight, and I remember seeing this as long as I remember seeing floaters.
    When I was 12 my eye sight required glasses (-1.25), it went up a bit to -2.0, it is that till this day and I do wear contact lenses. I see all these things and they have never limited or effected my vision to the best of my knowledge.

    While I am curious about this “condition”, I wonder if I have any reason to be concerned at all? Doctors I have spoken to had no idea what I wanted from them and the best I got was sent to the eye dr for an eye check which always came out fine.

    So should I be concerned and what do you recommend?

    Thank you for you time.
    Adam

    • Occasionally, there are conditions that we can not measure objectively. This “visual snow” phenomenon is a really good example. Tinnitus of the ear (persistent ringing or buzzing sound) is another example. There is no simple xray, ultrasound, blood test, or other test that will detect what you describe. We are limited sometimes to measuring what we can, examining for anything out of the ordinary, and essentially be unable to objectively measure this visual snow-like interference. You may continue to get odd and quizzical looks form your eye care professional. This phenomenon just doesn’t register with us. At least floaters are a physical entity that can be seen and confirmed as present in most cases. If your visual acuity isn’t changing and the eye looks healthy, there may not be anything to do. Get regular checkups if that is reassuring to you. – Dr. J

  111. Sandy says:

    Hi Dr. My 10 year old son constantly complains of seeing something in the shape of a cricket in his vision. Recently it went from clear to darker. he says grey blackish color. I took him to the eye dr last 2 years for this and she didnt find anything unusual. He has 20 20 vision. Is this common in very young children? He tells me he has always had it but only mentioned it about two years ago. Thanks for your help!

    • The vitreous fluid does not start out as a perfectly clear homogeneous fluid. During fetal development, there are numerous blood vessels that originate at the optic nerve head and supply the front of the eye with oxygen and nourishment while it is developing.

      Over a few months, and well before birth, these vessels should regress and disappear. They may leave behind some cellular remnants and debris, and if close enough to the retina, they may be seen as small, moving shadows some even cricket-shaped given all the random. possibilities. It may be a variation of normal.

  112. Julian Jimenez says:

    Good evening Doctor, I have just 16 years old and suffer from floaters flyers about 2 months ago and is very annoying, then my question is: what factors are likely to have caused me this? and I know that is very uncertain but .. I can really get rid of them? or maybe in the future is a cure internationally .. I live in Colombia and did not really know what to do

  113. Chris says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,

    In your experience, for the younger patients that ARE exceptions and that you have had some success treating, are their floaters a result of vitreous syneresis? Or more typically a result of injury, inflammation, etc.?

    Thanks!

    • The exceptions, have been difficult-to-treat “cobweb-like strands” in the middle and posterior 1/3 of the globe. Not syneresis (diffuse hazy clouding and thickening), not from posterior vitreous detachments, and rarely post-trauma.

  114. Katy says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,

    I am a 26 yo female and noticed a large floater 9 months ago. It never bothered me–in fact, I can’t remember even seeing it these last months! However, for some reason, in the last two weeks I’ve become fixated on it. It keeps ping ponging like crazy across my central vision, even at night, driving me crazy. I don’t think it’s bigger/darker than before, but…

    Is it possible that the floater is moving faster now–perhaps because of further liquification of the vitreous? Or would that not affect the speed of floater movement? I’m just amazed that I ignored this thing before! Is it possible my brain has just became too fixated on it? I’m making a problem out something that is exactly the same as it was before?

    • It is possible that there could be more movement than before if there is some breakdown of the structure of the vitreous with liquefaction. It sounds like you are assuming that what you see was always there and you just noticed it. Possible, but it may be some new clumping of vitreous protein strands. There is no way to know for sure either way.

      • Katy says:

        Thank you so much for your reply!! I was wondering if you could speculate whether my floater sounds “typical”of those in younger patients that can’t be treated (I know you can’t know for sure without an examination):

        It free floating and swirls up quickly with eye movement; otherwise it sinks below my line of sight. It is very fuzzy/hazy and there is only some vague discernable shape against bright sky (it MAY be a crystal worm floater? Still hard to tell.) However, it is fairly large, brown and visible in all light conditions. I am 26 yo and myopic (-7.00).

        I have many other tiny crystal worm floaters with distinct shape but they don’t bother me.

        Thank you again for your helpful website!

        • I can’t really speculate on the specifics of your floater. All I can really say with confidence is that most in your age are not good candidates for the YAG laser on the floaters. It is an unfortunate reality.

          • Katy says:

            Does the rate of vitreous syneresis correlate with the rate of myopia progression?

          • There is an association of eye floaters and myopia. I don’t think anyone has studied the progression of floaters with the rate of increase of myopia. Studies take money and time, and there isn’t much interest in academia regarding floaters in younger people, unfortunately.

  115. sergio says:

    What do you know about the new T-membranotomy technique?

    Do you believe it will be effective in youg patients?

    • No. The “membrane” refers to the vitreous cortex which has separated from the retina (a posterior vitreous detachment). This PVD usually has not occurred in younger patients. I have my doubts that it is even a reliable procedure in older patients that have had a PVD. It does not get rid of the floater, it just tries to move it to another position that may be less bothersome. I think that is an unacceptable low expectation.

      • Sergio says:

        As you said “usually” has not ocurred in young patients but I´m 29 years old and have PVD in both eyes.

        • I’m not convinced you have true PVD’s in both eyes. I have seen several younger people who were told they had PVD’s when in actuality they didn’t. It underscores that there is no standardized language and methodology to describe eye floaters. If you had a true PVD, it could be confirmed by ultrasound imaging.

          • Sergio says:

            It was confirmed by an OCT. I have a partial PVD. Why could this happen to young people?

          • Another question: Why would they not happen to some younger people? Given all the possibilities and variations and knowing that the vitreous is not really very adherent to the retina, it does not surprise me that some young people might have some vitreous changes.

  116. Peter says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,

    I’ve read through all the responses on here, and your standard, rather morbid, response is that these micro-floaters are untreatable, under-researched and there is no way of knowing whether they go away.

    If I may offer some grounds for optimism, I would imagine that only the most anguished patients (such as myself) will have visited you or posted their concerns on this page. The rest (which could in fact be the majority) may have waited long enough for the floaters to disappear. This may amplify the overall negative outlook about floaters disappearing, skewing the stats and inadvertently creating an inherent bias here towards those who have persistent symptoms.

    May I ask, in this context, whether you have followed up on any of the older posts here or the patients who visited once and have not come back? It would seem to me that these are the people whose symptoms have subsided, but their experience may not be represented here, and that we are left with an excessively negative perception of the prospects of improvement in our condition.

    To all who read these postings with increasing anxiety, I would advise you to consider that you may in fact be the ‘silent majority’ in which floaters disappear. While certainly the view of an expert, your opinion is above all of one of uncertainty, rather than any definitive statement on the pathology or treatment options of this condition.

    • If you believe my response is standard and morbid* it may appear to you as such because it is not a perky optimistic answer. Most of my responses are to the question: “Do you think that on the basis of my previous two descriptive sentences and my young age that I may be a candidate for treatment?“. My apparently pessimistic response is based on those similarly young patients who have actually made it to my office for an examination. With very few exceptions, their floaters are rarely ever in a treatable location.

      Put this in perspective: I make a lot more money treating someone than not treating them. No one is more motivated to address the problem of floaters than I am. Plus, most of these young people are from out of state and out of country. For a hypothetical 20 year old from India, I imagine it would be a significant percentage of their income to fly all the way to California, pay for lodging, food, transportation, as well as my evaluation/consultation fee just to confirm that they can not be treated. I am actually trying to respect the patient based on their statistical likelihood of being a candidate for a safe and successful treatment. Either way, I’ll get my eval/consultation fee but it doesn’t seem fair to create more hope and optimism than is justifiable. If I am telling someone they can not be treated, it is with their best interests in mind, not mine.

      I may be amplifying the overall negative outlook, but remember, most young people are asking if I think they may be a candidate for treatment with the laser. Most, I believe, are not. If instead they ask “will it get better on its own. I will answer “Maybe. It will either get better, stay about the same, or get worse” (yes, brilliant, I know). There is no mechanism or process of the eye that can identify these protein clumps as “abnormal” and no mechanism to clear them out. They are inert clumps of collagen protein. They are not living, breathing cells that are metabolically active where they may be influenced directly by nutrition or supplements. And no, staring at the moon will NOT have an effect on your floaters as suggested on one web site.

      So I will have to disagree with your premise. I believe I have a rather respectful and realistic approach to floaters in younger patients and not overly pessimistic or “morbid”. In fact, it seems like just the right amount of pessimism.

      Your suggestion of contacting previous younger patients is not unreasonable, but it may not be a large enough patient population or over a long enough period to be able to generalize any findings.

      * MORBID: “characterized by or appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects”

  117. James Allan says:

    Yes, that’s exactly why my wording started with ‘And is a bit scary that….’

    I had to hunt through a few misguided websites and forums before finding this, so I hope google pushes this right to the top of ‘eye floater’ searches.

    I admit I had not seen your page on bad internet information, and the advice from one of the websites to ‘blink (a lot)’ is ridiculous. As is the scam package ‘Eye Floaters No More (TM)’ at $37!!!!!!!!!!! – surely trading standards systems can stop people making money off nonsical products?

    Anyway Doctor, may your time and dedication in this specific field be rewarded with better funding and getting the facts out into the open for everyone! Many thanks indeed for your reply and time!

    • you wrote: “surely trading standards systems can stop people making money off nonsical products?
      No. Look at the whole homeopathy product lines and offerings. It has been around over 100 years and no evidence that it works OR that there is even any molecules of the “active” agent present in the product it is so dilute. (What? don’t believe me? Read THIS or was your own Richard Dawkins explain HERE.

  118. James Allan says:

    a neutral comment this one to you doctor, and a long one, but more just a thanks to your dedication, profession, and information here. I wrote this out as an email to you but have decided to try posting it here for anyone like myself with hardly any cause for concern but fascinated by what it is.

    I’ve had floaters of the very mild kind for about 5 years (I’m 37), and really hardly noticed them and not even tried to pattern them, if anything just a very slight haze that seems to ‘flow’ past the eye direction. Really didn’t bother me.

    Now I’ve discovered a dark dot with a floater attached to it. Again I’m not so bothered, just was curious and found your wonderful site and have read and learnt so much.

    For anyone reading this that feels they have mild floaters or seemingly tiny dot and just one, it seems from what Dr Johnson is saying, the mystery is always there and that sometimes it can be a problem with a cause, but often just either aging or ‘murphy’s law’ in nature.

    I have come here today searching after playing ‘pong’ with my left eyeball for 20 minutes in the sunlight lol I actually found with drifting my eye one way then looking sharply to the opposite direction that I apparently could send the dot floating in that general direction, but maybe I’ve gone mad and you’ll say that this isn’t possible.

    What I found was that with getting the dot a bit more focused and then quick slight tiny movements of my eye, I could sometimes get a good look of the dot and clear floater. So I wanted to mention this here after seeing the patient’s drawings of floaters.

    Mine is a small dot that I can only describe as a mouldy brown colour with two smaller circle parts making up 3/4s of it, then a clear floater that is always attached to the dot with a long clear tail. The tail seems clear like the image of a worm-shaped cell under the microscope that you see on biology documentaries.

    What’s interesting and that I didn’t read anywhere above from other comments, is that the tail moves freely and changes shape as I move my eye. I even got it to form a loop or straighten somewhat.

    Before coming here, I was wondering if I had some kind of microscopic tape worm that had buried it’s head or tail into my eye and the rest was floating around in the liquid. And is a bit scary that the same google search for ‘dot on eye with worm’ found a link to a forum with someone talking about a tiny worm in his eye and then many posts all say to treat it with coconut oil and colloidal silver.

    Sorry this is so long, but my first part is to hopefully link my experience in hardly noticing/not fearing my 1 tiny floater (though I will still see my doctor and get my eyes checked), and the second part fascinated me that with 20 minutes of ping-pong trying to get the floater in the position to ‘focus’ more clearly on, I realised the floater tail never moved which I now understand after reading here that it’s the shadow and not an actual ‘thing’ on my eye. I was trying to rub my eye and see if the shadow changed!

    So for all those with a very minimalist dot or clear floater, this website needs to be made more mainstream. For those with serious problems of course the same. And I truly hope your research and funding increase and that the mysteries around floaters in their many forms and causes can be unraveled more!

    It’s always best advice to see a doctor or dentist or have any eye check up etc etc with any problems or small unusual signs in heath throughout the body, but here has at least made me feel better and not worried. I’ll monitor my dot and floater, but thanks so much for all the information here (and your detailed replies to everyone’s questions) and it’s this whole website has put my mind at ease.

    Just to clarify, the clear floater was always attached to the dot at one end, even with me playing pong with my eye movement for some time. This is why my first concern at seeing a ‘dot’ on my eye and not just the usual clear floater, was ‘what if it’s some kind of microscopic worm that’s now burrowed it’s head into my eye and the tail is just left to flail in the liquid as my eye moves?’ Sounds silly, but it’s the reason I googled it all and found this site, and hense why I feel a lot more relaxed now!

  119. Chris says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,

    I am a 27 year old female. I developed a significant number of “crystal worm” floaters in both eyes that appeared within weeks of going off of birth control pills and switching to an IUD. I was wondering whether there is any speculation in the literature between floaters in young people and hormonal changes. Stopping my birth control is the only significant bodily change that I can pinpoint in the timeframe; I had been using birth control consistently for 10 years, and never had floaters previously!

    In addition, I am worried that because my floaters are continuing to increase in number over time, I should be doing something/changing something to halt their onset. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

    Thank you for your website and helpful responses!

    • There is very little, if any, scientific published literature on the topic of these floaters in young patients. As such, it is nearly impossible to make any specific recommendations to limit the progression of these floaters.

      • Chris says:

        How about my first question? Could their appearance be related to hormonal changes?

        • I answered it without really answering it: “There is very little, if any, scientific published literature on the topic of these floaters in young patients”. I am not aware of any evidence suggesting that is the case. But it could be. I don’t think it has been studied.

  120. Sheena says:

    I’m 28 and have developed a few dark and well defined floaters in both of my eyes. There is one rather large one in my right eye that floats around my central vision — and I can control it’s position by looking up to make it go down and looking down to make it go up. I can even see it against dark backgrounds. Anyway, they appeared after a series of chiropractic visits which involved vibration techniques to prepare my spine for adjustment. I had been going for about 1 day a week for 3 months. I always thought the device they used on my back was a bit too intense — when they would use it on my neck it would shake my head so much I thought my brain was in a blender. After the adjustments they would also have me stand on a vibration plate for 20 minutes. I’m pretty positive all of the shaking in my eyes caused these floaters, which I’ve had ever since I stopped going there about a year ago. Is there anyway I could prove this? The optometrist said my eyes seemed healthy but I don’t see how having a little blind spot in my right eye is healthy. There should be techniques to break these things apart, concentrated vibration sort of like the seismic waves that travel through earth during an earthquake….

    • There is no way to prove it. Your eye may be extremely healthy in spite of the presence of a floater. Floaters are not an eye health issue, usually. Is it possible to send vibration waves to break up the floater? Not at this time. Haven’t you had enough of vibration waves to your body for now?

  121. Dr. Steven LeBoeuf says:

    Hello!

    I’m in my late 30s, and my 1st memory of floaters goes back to when I was a very young child (3 – 6 years old). I had one or two circular floaters (just looked like a glass ball with no string) in my vision that would pop up only when I looked up at the sky.

    When I became a teenager (about 16), I started to get myopia and began wearing contact lenses. I was the victim of a violent assault in my 18th year, and a few weeks later I started noticing a couple wormy-lookin’ floaters (seem to be the “crystal worm” type you reference herein). I’m not certain if the head assault caused the floaters or if they would’ve come to me anyways. In any case, my eyes were checked out, and there was no sign of any damage.

    The floaters were quite few and very stable for about 10 years, and I adapted to them rather easily. But then at age 28 the number jumped up dramatically (and seemingly suddenly). Of course, I went to an ophthalmologist, and there was no sign of retinal tears or PVD.

    Then again, the floaters were stable for many years (another 10 years), until my late 30s when I noticed yet another jump in floaters. Now I have a sea of crystal-wormy floaters in my eyes, everywhere I look with essentially no “white spots”, but doctors have taken a very close look at my eyes and neither find any floaters nor any signs of retinal issues nor PVD.

    One bit of curiosity I have is about the fact that I’ve worn extended wear contacts since I was 18. Is there any correlation between wearing extended wear contacts and increasing floaters? If so, anything you can suggest to prevent the generation of new floaters? On a similar note, is there any correlation between blepharitis and eye floaters? Being a scientist by trade myself, simply being linked to research on this topic would be helpful.

    thanks much

    • Your questions:
      Is there any correlation between wearing extended wear contacts and increasing floaters? If so, anything you can suggest to prevent the generation of new floaters?
      Not that I am aware of, not should there be any association between contact lens wear and floaters in younger patients where the floaters are typically about as far from the contact lens as it could be and still be in the eye.

      On a similar note, is there any correlation between blepharitis and eye floaters?
      No. For the same reasons.

  122. Jack says:

    Hi,
    I’m 19 years old and currently experience floaters. They usually aren’t too bad, being gray and transparent. Sometime their worse and sometimes better. Most of them seem like large, long objects. I don’t have any flashes (a bad sign). But is this something to worry about? Would a regular eye examination (I wear contacts) notice if there was retinal detachment/a worse problem?

    Thanks!

    • Jack,
      Any eye care provider should be able to identify a more serious problem like a retina hole/tear/detachment. They may not necessarily comment specifically on your floater symptoms, or show much interest in them to tell the truth. Floaters in young people are often very difficult to locate at the examination. I am more motivated than most any other doctor to find them, and sometimes I really struggle to find these microscopic particles.
      Regarding for specific request for reassurance as to the benign nature of your problem, it would be irresponsible for me to do so without a direct examination of your eye. IF you do have the typical benign floaters typical of younger patients, it will be unlikely that the laser will be the appropriate tool. It rarely is.

  123. Talha says:

    Hello Dr! I am 22 years old and have had a case of floaters since I was about 10. The doctor told me that it is hereditary since my father has them too. About four months ago, I started noticing a gradual increase in my floaters. First I developed some stringy ones and then some dot-like ones appeared later on as well. Although I can’t count them exactly but I would say I probably have 10-15 floaters in both eyes. Most of them are dots. I got concerned and went to the family doctor for an examination. He did a complete dilated-eye checkup and told me that my retina is 100% fine. When I asked him about the floaters he said he could not see even a single one. He also noticed that my myopia had decreased from -5.0 to -4.75 in both eyes. Moreover he prescribed olopatadine drops on accounts of my eyes being a little allergic. My question to you is, are the number of floaters in my eyes normal? And also, is it common to have a natural reduction in myopia at this age? I couldn’t find any answers to these questions on the internet and would be grateful if an eye floater expert like you could answer them please. Thank you in advance!

    • A quarter-diopter shift in your prescription is fairly insignificant and I’m not if that would even be much noticeable in a change in your prescription. The floaters in younger patients are VERY difficult to find on examination. I am more motivated than most eye doctors to find them and sometimes I have to admit that I can’t positively identify them. It IS the problem of floaters in young people: The patient sees them, but the doctor doesn’t. Is the number of floaters normal? No. Normal would be not seeing floaters. But it may very well be part of the spectrum of possibilities in an otherwise healthy eye.

      • Talha says:

        Thank you very much for the prompt reply sir! With due apology, I have to say that I could not understand the meaning of the last line of your answer. Could you please elaborate? Because I am very concerned about the quantity of floaters. And one last question, is there any connection between floater development and dry eyes.

        • I meant to communicate the the “ideal” normal is to have completely perfectly clear vitreous. There really isn’t any such thing as all vitreous starts out with some slight irregularities. The present of microscopic clumps, then is not normal, but it is not uncommon and can be found in completely healthy eyes. It is a variation of normal if that makes you feel better. There is no association of dry eyes and floaters.

          • Talha says:

            Once again thank you very much for your reply. I really appreciate the help and have to say that it has put me to a lot of relief from all the anxiety and panic attacks I have been having for the past few days. I happen to live halfway across the world from you in Saudi Arabia so it isn’t possible for me to express my gratitude in any way other than through this message. I hope you have a blessed life and keep helping people like this. Cheers!

  124. Tudor says:

    Thank you for this very informative website. I’m 32, male, and have been having a small black (but not completely opaque) floater the size of a pea held at arm’s length in my left eye for I think a couple of years. I would not always see it though, even when looking at e.g. a bright white surface. I’d have thought I’m more aware of it when tired or when I’ve used a computer for too long, however I’m not sure if this correlation is in fact true – they are, after all physical entities that are always in the eye, and so should be noticed anytime they’re able to cast a good shadow, e.g. when starting into the sky.

    In addition to the black dot (floater), I do have occasional (normal) transparent and non-circular artefacts in my vision when looking at bright scenes, however their appearance is much more predictable and less disturbing than the floater.

    Lately, perhaps due to stress, I’ve been more aware/bothered by the black floater, and now a second floater has appeared in my left eye, similar to the first one, i.e. black(ish) and more or less circular. One of them is smaller and more transparent than the other, and the relative position of the two floaters to each other is not constant.

    My questions are:

    1) Since aging is probably not a factor in my case, what could be the cause of these floaters, and are there causes that don’t necessarily indicate an underlying problem? I’ve had strabismus surgery at age 7 – could it be that debris from the operation has accumulated in my vitreous and given rise to these floaters? Otherwise, could retinal dettachment a likely cause in my case?

    2) How likely is it that floaters will appear in my right eye at some point, and how many floaters can you “live with” before you should worry and have a retinal scan?

    Thank you very much indeed in advance!

    • 1) Since aging is probably not a factor in my case, what could be the cause of these floaters, and are there causes that don’t necessarily indicate an underlying problem? I’ve had strabismus surgery at age 7 – could it be that debris from the operation has accumulated in my vitreous and given rise to these floaters? Otherwise, could retinal detachment a likely cause in my case?
      Aging may be a factor. Our bodies start breaking down from an early age. Significant atherosclerosis was found in young active military members in one study. Just because you are in your mid-thirties, doesn’t mean aging is not a consideration. You may not have the more widespread vitreous degeneration and collapse that the older crown more typically suffers, but there can be changes nevertheless. There is always a march toward disorder. Small areas of clumping of collagen proteins in the eye may be consistent with that . Not necessarily part of any eye disease or disorder, but some disorder. The reality is that no one know tell you what the cause is of this common problem in younger people.

      2) How likely is it that floaters will appear in my right eye at some point, and how many floaters can you “live with” before you should worry and have a retinal scan?
      I don’t know. See #1 above.

  125. Shirl says:

    I am 66 years old and just started to see floaters and flahes of light in my left eye. I went to the opthamologist and he said that my eyes are healthy and my pressure is good. I went to my primary care Dr. and he sent me for an MRI and that turned out to be fine. I just started getting these jagged floaters about 5 days ago after I had a migraine for 2 weeks. My migraine is gone but the floaters and flashes of light are still there constantly. It drives me crazy!!! I don’t know what else to do!! Am I going to have to live the rest of my life with this problem??? I need help!!!

    • Are you sure you are talking about floaters? If you are seeing a light “phenomenon” that has a jagged border that “builds and increases over the course of 15-30 minutes, then subsides, that is more consistent with an ophthalmic migraine. The light is considered an “active” phenomenon and could be seen if you were in the pitch dark environment. That is not floaters, but is a transient neurological activity. If you are instead seeing a “moving shadow” or shadows across your vision, then that is more likely floaters. I do not treat the former, but can usually treat the latter. Persistent peripheral flashes of light may be associated with a posterior vitreous detachment – noted especially with eye or head movement. This is often associated with the development of eye floaters. Most of the time flashes will eventually subside, but they are associated with some retina issues, like holes and tears. Your ophthalmologist likely suggested a 1-2 month followup visit to re-examine the retina just to make sure. Hopefully the flashes will have subsided. If floaters remain and are bothersome, contact me

  126. Richard says:

    Hi Doctor, watched your video and read for at least 30 minutes, as much as i could with my floaters. Very Very informative. I turn 40 in a few weeks, had my first floater 1996, age 23, a large fly size black uneven circle in right eye. I got used to it, but over time more appeared, and now some have appeared (small) in my left eye….by my count, i only have 2 eyes so i have no escape to close right eye anymore and be free. I have done everything possible to limit their destruction, changing computer screen to all black with white font letters, wearing sunglasses in the house, darker blinds, all blankets black as i can see the floaters if looking at white blanket, etc, etc. Your video rang true with me. But, $$ isnt the issue, it is the fear of having a procedure and getting worse…which is scary, and that fear is probably mostly due to all the misinformation provided over the years. But, i am researching more thoroughly. Past doctors would always say “There is nothing you can do, and surgery is a huge risk”.

    One question, and please forgive me if you already answered it on your site, i read as much as i could before eye strain. Can you even see or treat the smaller floaters? I have 2 in my left eye that are circles and see through, not the black spot type. One past eye doctor couldnt see them, but i wasnt very confident in his knowledge or analysis. I would say they are about 25% the size of the large black floater in right eye that is about the size of a small house fly an inch in front of my eye. Thank you for your time.

    • I can treat very small floaters, but small floaters in the middle or the front of the eye may not be all that bothersome to you- the floater sufferer. The smaller the floater, the closer to the retina is must be to be seen by the floater sufferer. Since there is no accurate way to measure the floaters based on your description, there is no way to know for sure what “small” means. I could possible treat very successfully an assortment of small floaters and completely miss the small floaters near the retina. That would be an unsuccessful endeavor, no?

      • Richard says:

        Thanks Doctor. i understand, and a consultation is best way to determine exactly. If i knocked out my 3-4 largest floaters and still had the few small ones, that would be quite a life improvement, and at least cease with sunglasses indoors. I am planning on a visit this year to at least see where i am even though not yet 45. I for one cant say how grateful i am a doctor is working on floaters as you are, providing hope of a possible solution. Thank you!

        • I will look forward to meeting you.

          • William Dickie says:

            Greetings Doctor:
            I’m a 58 year old male who lately is seeing what appears to be dark “bug” like visions in my left eye. Sometimes’s these bug like dark spots seem to be scampering from the bottom of my line of sight in my left eye to the top of the line of sight in my left eye. Is there any cure or medical term for such a phenomena?
            Prof. Bill Dickie, Ph.D.

          • “Moving shadows” in the vision can not be caused by abnormalities in the tear film, cornea, aqueous fluid, crystalline or implant lens, retina, or visual cortex of the brain. Pretty much it is something moving around in the vitreous. Most of these are condensations of the indigenous collagen proteins. Rarely, it could be something else (like blood, foreign bodies from trauma .) If you have’t already, you should get a local eye examination to rule out any pathology and get the reassurance that your eye is otherwise healthy. Ask your doctor if you have had a posterior vitreous detachment, and if he/she can see the floater in question. I’d suggest starting with that.

  127. Scott says:

    I’ll admit, this webpage encouraged and discouraged me at the same time. It is nice to know that other people have the same condition, and it does not seem to reflect a sight-threatening condition in the eye. That being said, it is a upsetting that there seems to be nothing that can be done.

    I developed my eye floaters when I was 20 (I’m now turning 28). It seemed to come on all at once over the period of about a week or so. I was seen by an Optho as well as several Optos, and all of them concluded “I can’t see your floaters, but your eyes look great”. I was a bit befuddled, as my floaters are HUGE, and under the right lighting conditions can be quite distracting. But I’ve just kinda trucked on and tried to ignore them as best as I can. They do infuriate me though. But if I have to have a medical condition, Harmless floaters are not high on the list of awful things that can happen, that’s for sure.

    Any hope at all for me, or am I stuck with them for the rest of my natural life? I sure hope not.

    • they can be quite small but appear quite large to the owner as you described. The good news is that if these very small floaters moved even just a few millimeters away from the retina, you probably would not see them anymore. It is possible they could get better.

  128. Divya Agrawal says:

    Thanks so much dr.johnson for all your confessions about the untreatable floaters……….but I wanted to say that am 17……..i saw my first floater few years back and I mean they disappear and come again only when am in a dark room or really bright light…i see circles at time never saw worms……it is not vitreous detachment I guess..am just worried coz last night my left eye could see much better than the right eye in the dark only……..thers a little cloudy type of vision in dark in my right eye…….i have no vision problem…its only in dark with my right eye…what can be done …..plz help………and ya at times I feel alot of strain in my right rye and a mild headache too…my left eye is good and normal

    • You will need to be evaluated and treated or reassured by your eye doctor locally. I can not adequately comment on your described condition. Hopefully your doctors will be able to reassure you.

  129. V says:

    I have had a small black dot in my field of vision for quite sometime now.But,being busy haven’t looked into it.I’m 23.It is in my right eye.And,on top of that I get the feeling that there’s something in my eye like small bit of dust or something physically like an irritation.I don’t know if it’s a floater.Sure,feels like one.Any particular test I need to take that will diagnose it accurately?And,how to prevent them?

    • Diagnosis of floaters is best done directly by the doctor, not by photographs or ultrasound or any other technical aid. The challenge is that the typical floater in younger patients are very small and difficult to find. I can not recommend any effective preventative. No one has studied this phnomenon adequately to come to any conclusion or recommendations.

      • V says:

        I’ll ask around a bit more.Please,reply to the best of your knowledge.Since,I’m 23 and have this does it mean my eyes are aging faster than normal?And,I stand a chance of a faster deterioration of sight?Most sources say it affects people in their 40-50 age span,plus I have never had any visual problems before this.I do not wear spectacles or have trouble reading.So,is it actually a sign that my eyes are ageing faster than normal?

        • Your eyes are not aging faster than usual. The floaters in younger patients are not the same as those seen in older patients. There is no way to predict whether they will get better, get worse, or stay the same. I still do not have any recommendations for treatment or activities to avoid for those suffering these floaters.

  130. rajib says:

    Thanx to this site that let me know about eye floaters. i am 22 year old.i have no health issue except eye.It seems like very bad part of my body.i have a high nearsightness,its increasing year by year,i am doing everything told by eye doctor to keep it constant,but nothing works.and after 21 i marked some shadows and worms in my eye.after 1 year it get worse,specially since before 4 months it increases and clearly markable.i think it is due to sudden increase in my lens power,in between 1 year lens power increased from -3.75 to -4.5 in right eye and -3.25 to -3.75 in left eye.due to this sudden incremennt in nearsightness,i am facing a lot of pressure particularly in my right eye especially during classes .is this the reason of increment in eye floaters,please give me the solution how to get ride of those floaters,atleast not anymore increase of eye floaters.

    • If you are 22 years old and seeing shadows and worms-type of floaters, it is probably unlikely that you are a good candidate for treatment with the laser. The myopic or nearsighted shift is probably genetically predetermined, and my guess is that nearsightedness runs and your family. The increased growth of the eye is typical in their late teens and perhaps early 20s as well. I can’t comment on your sensation of pressure. If I had the simple solution to your floaters I would already have it packaged, labeled and would be selling it to my website. it is a tough situation to be in to be young and have bothersome floaters as there are no simple solutions to the problem.

  131. Manzoor says:

    I am seeing floater gray spot on my right eye moving when focus, only when close my left eye, also seeing tiny flashes right eye on right edge since last week contacted with eye specialist he said nothing is like retina detachment found and add minor swelling found, i never had eye vision problem, i am 29, but worry about it, any suggestions?

    • Suggestions? not really. I don’t have much more to add to this webpage and all of the many other similar inquiries from younger patients. The floaters in younger patients are a frustrating and challenging problem. They generally are not very good candidates for you they yank laser treatment, and the amount and volume of the floaters involved is to minimal to justify the risks of vitrectomy. Supplements and other herbal or naturopathic approaches do not work.

  132. ndtaylor says:

    Age 28, I first noticed some crystal/string/glob floaters in one eye about a week ago. I was on vacation in the Caribbean, and did a bit of jumping off boats, scuba and freediving, so potentially incurred a bit of trauma (had a bit of mask squeeze, which would have put pressure on my eyes momentarily, also lost a contact lens on one jump, but not the eye where I noticed floaters). Nothing that stood out at the time, but the next day or two I noticed floaters for the first time.

    I had an eye exam two days ago when I returned, no retinal tears, nothing visible out of the ordinary. No loss of vision, no flashes of light. Just fibers that look like images of collagen fibers and other extracellular matrix components (I’m a molecular biologist).

    The floaters are a bit annoying, but mostly only in bright light, outside, against computer screen, etc. I’m sure I can learn to ignore them until they hopefully go away. My question concerns what I should (or should not) do to minimize the chance of developing more floaters. Are there vitamins or organics (hyaluronic acid, collagen, etc.) that have been scientifically demonstrated to have an effect on repairing/reducing incidence of collagen breakdown in eyes, joints, other connective tissues? Is hydration important? Is exercise important? Is diet important? Avoiding sun, alcohol, pressure changes, etc? Any scientific studies at all on floaters or their management that you can point me towards?

    Thanks

    • The crystals strings and globs as you describe them are common in the younger patients and also enigmatic. I’m not aware of any particular studies trying to understand the natural course of these floaters. Nobody really understands why they occur are what factors may have promoted their formation. I have to file this problem under the category of “uncertain”. I am fairly certain that trauma and possibly some medications may contribute to their formation, but in many of the young people that I have talked to, there is no common readily identifiable underlying association. Entropy just happens sometimes. I consider the floaters to the very inert in the sense that they are not active living breathing cells. There should be no metabolism associated with their existence. As such, I do not believe that vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathic preparations, or any purported “detoxifiers” would have any effect on them. I don’t believe that the formation of floaters is due to a deficiency of collagen or hyaluronic acid or any other substrate and as such supplementing with the same but probably not affect them. I simply just don’t have that much to offer you or resources to try to towards. If you come across anything interesting, please let me know. If I come across anything more definitive, I will be announcing it on this website.

  133. Alex says:

    Hi
    I am 24 year old male and have just recently got myself few floaters in my right eye only. I have hit my head a month ago and have been taking modafinil couple of months ago as well. I am still waiting for my appointment to see a doctor but I stumbled on this page, and it looks very informative, again thank you a lot for providing various bits of information. I know that is probably difficult or maybe impossible to tell, but would you say it is possible I have gotten the floaters from hitting my head (above the right eye) and/or taking modafinil? Or this is to do with something else?

  134. Helen says:

    Hello. I am 28 and have been experiencing floaters and black spots since I was 10 years old, when my vision went from perfect to -2.5. I started wearing contact lenses when I turned 16 and it was like the whole world magically appeared before my eyes. The trees wear so crisp, I could see every single leaf! My eyes gradually got worse after having children in my early 20’s. Now, I buy contacts that are -3.75 for both eyes. Sadly, the black spots and squiggly floaters got worse with age. It scares me when I ride a dirt bike or drive a car because I can’t see very well and I can’t judge distances. Speaking of driving, I recently started experiencing a type of night-blindness. The streetlights and the headlights mess up my eyes and I have a hard time judging distances. It’s especially worse when it is night and raining. :(
    Another problem I experience is when I look at certain patterns. For example, if I look at tiger stripes, the lines wiggle. I don’t know what is wrong with my eyes! They are driving me crazy!
    I’m not stressed or have health problems. I sleep just fine and I take perfect care of my contacts. I spoke with my optometrist and he said it could possibly be a neurological problem. Any advise? Have you ever heard of this problem before?

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Helen.

    • Moving shadows in your vision can really only be caused by something in the vitreous space. The other phenomena you describe could be something else. I can’t say. Similar to my other comments to young patient inquiries, based on your age you likely have a very small microscopic fibers of collagen located close to your retina. It may be why your eye doctor apparently did not see or comment in your floaters and was searching for some other explanation such as neurological.

  135. V says:

    Hi Doc,

    I’m a 30 year old male, and have never had any eye/vision problems prior to this. Routine eye examination last year revealed no abnormalities.

    I must confess that in past 2-3 months I have spent excessive time in front of a computer screen at work, at home (and the time between that staring at a smartphone screen) (on an average, atleast 10-11 hours/day). To add to that I have not been getting enough rest either (maybe on an average 6 – 6.5 hours of sleep a night)

    I started experencing floaters in the past week/10 days. Might also have seen some flashes. The symptoms are pretty much spot on as some of the others on here have described i.e. more visible in sunlight / outside / in a bright room. The floaters are mostly dark (black/grey-ish in color), and I often see them when I turn to look either-side.

    Could this in any way be related to my excessive computer use/poor sleep habits?

    Do advise.

    Thanks.

  136. Becker says:

    I turned 26 in February of this year (2013). Throughout life, I would probably see a brief floater every month or so. However, roughly a couple months ago, I started seeing a lot of floaters in my vision. It’s always a “spray” of floaters – individual dots, as well as one or two stringy clumps. I see them most clearly when I’m outside in the daylight. I also began seeing the Blue Field Entoptic “phenomenon” around the same time. It’s much more persistent than the floaters. I see it every waking minute now. Based on online research, it seems that I probably have high blood pressure, and that probably explains all of my visual symptoms.
    I’ve been making an effort to eat healthier and be more active, so as to lower my blood pressure to minimize the Blue Field thing. However, I’m wondering about the floaters. Why don’t they get cleaned out naturally by the body’s waste removal processes?

  137. Sophie says:

    Hi,
    I’m 21 and have had my crystal worm floaters since I was about 18 years old. In the beginning I was freaked out about this and while studying I couldn’t concentrate on my textbooks. I was distracted by these worms to the point I was following them and counting them (this sounds really weird). I went to 2 ophthalmologists: the first one said (after examining my eyes) said that my eyes were good, no high pressure, no retinal detachment,… He also said that my floaters were something I was going to get used to and that I just had to ignore them. The second doctor examined my eyes with a lens thing he put directly onto my eye. He said I had a vitreous detachment. There was nothing I could do with the floaters, he said, so I tried to be more relaxed about it. Now, a couple years later I have learned to ignore them, but I’m worried they could get worse when I get older. Also, am I at a higher risk of a retina detachment? And is it even possible that the worm floaters go away, naturally?
    Another thing that’s really weird is that when I look through a microscope, the worms get more defined. Normally they are transparent, blurry and black but when I look through the microscope they look like black chains. Do you know why?
    Thanks

    • It would be very unlikely that you have experienced a true exterior vitreous detachment at your young, tender age. occasionally, I have found other doctors will describe the presence of any symptoms of floaters as a posterior vitreous detachment. If you truly experience the posterior vitreous detachment, then your risk of retinal problems would decrease significantly. Most of the time when people have spontaneous peripheral retinal holes, tears, or detachments, is due to the vitreous pulling away from the retina during the formation of the vitreous detachment. But again, I am not convinced that you had a true PVD.

      Is it possible that the worm floaters will go away? It is possible. Your experience of the floaters being more market or noticeable when looking through microscope is a normal optical phenomenon.

  138. Michael says:

    Hello.

    First of all, I would like to say that I have found this website incredibly helpful. I am 22 years old and have numerous floaters in both eyes which are all over my central vision. I have seen an Ophthalmologist who declared my eyes as healthy and my floaters as harmless. In fact, he failed to make it clear whether he could actually see any floaters at all. Which is why I am so glad to find this website, as it explains why my central vision is so disturbed by these floaters, despite the fact my eye doctor failed to see them clearly. So thank you for that.

    If possible, I have a couple of questions, seeing as this website is far more informative that any doctor I have seen thus far. These harmless ‘crystal worm’ floaters are essentially what I see, as I can describe to you my floaters in great detail. Does having these ‘benign floaters’ increase the potential of future eye problems later in life or put me at a greater risk factor? I still can’t understand why ‘harmless floaters’ would develop unless there was an underlying reason?

    I also noticed that when getting a visual field test I was having strange vision. When the patch was placed over my eye (left or the right) the eye that remained open had a black pattern drift across my vision (almost a black spot which appeared like a scribble on a piece of paper) This blackness would drift in and out, blocking my vision so that I could not see past it. The eye doctor had no idea, probably thought I was mad. Do you have any idea why such a thing might happen? It was disconcerting, having the vision in the open eye blocked by a black spot/pattern seemingly because the other eye was closed/pressed by the eye patch. I’m sorry, this may have been a ridiculous question to far….

    Anyway, thank you for the informative website. It has really helped me understand my own floaters. I guess ultimately people living with harmless visual disturbances should be glad that they are just that: harmless.

    • I am sorry to hear you are suffering from these visual disturbances but it appears as if you have a reasonably healthy attitude towards the situation. The floaters in younger patients are very, very difficult to see. I will usually spend much more time than the typical eye care provider because people are coming to me as an “expert in floaters”, I should damn well be able to see the floaters as well. sometimes, I just have to be honest with patient and tell them that I can find them. I become more comfortable with that conversation with the understanding that some of these vitreous protein/collagen condensations can be truly microscopic. Something that is that small and covering over your retina will be quite noticeable. I have to shine light into the eye and that reflected light has to pass through several different optical tissues of your I, then several lens elements, bounce off a couple of mirrors, passed through a couple more lens elements, and in past all the up structures of my I before finally landing on my retina. There are just too many opportunities for optical degradation of the image for something so small and low contrast to begin with.
      Regarding this scribble drifting in and out while you are taking the visual field test, it is possible that that could be one of the floaters. As a general rule of thumb, there is nothing that can cause moving shadows in your vision except something floating around in the vitreous space. as far as cause?
      Really knows. I believe it is just biological entropy in action. Collagen is sticky and it is more surprising to me that The vitreous is able to remain for as long as it does.

      • Michael says:

        Sorry Doctor, I just want to check so I am sure.

        Does having floaters (even ‘harmless’ ones that reside in an otherwise healthy eye) mean I am at higher risk of future eye problems? Do floaters in young people indicate future eye issues?

        Or are do they pose absolutely no current or future risk to the eyes themselves, no matter how dense they become?

        Thank you for your time, I appreciate your help. Unfortunately mine fall into the untreatable category, so I guess I just have to learn to tolerate them.

  139. Lisa says:

    Hi,

    I am a female exactly when I turned 30 a few things happened. I had suffered a hit to the side of my head. I had fallen backwards and hit my head on carpet fairly hard. No Concusion. I had started seeing little black spots immediately after. I went to the eye doctor months after as they still remained. He said I have very slight virtuous detachment in one eye. Floaters in both and no retinal detachment. Now almost two years later they still bother me. I seem to have the crystal wormy ones, and the knob string ball ones. When I look at the blue sly I just see lots of gray cobwebish lines and spots. My vision is still 20/20. Any insight to wether this could be fixed?

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      Lisa, I’m sorry to hear of your problem with floaters. When younger people describe “little black spots” and “crystal worms” I am immediately concerned that the floaters are located closer to the retina which would make treatment less likely or safe. There is no way to know for sure without a direct examination, and there are some exceptions where I have been able to successfully treat younger patients, but they are not the typical patient.

      • Joe says:

        Hello Dr Johnson, I’m 29 and I have distinct crystal worm floaters in both of my eyes, my right eye more so. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my floaters are probably untreatable though I plan to make an appointment for a consultation anyway if I’m ever in Cali. The reason I’m writing is because Lisa above said something very interesting to me, her floaters started immediately after a head injury. I’ve had neck problems all my life but they started getting really bad around 25, my first clear floater happened almost overnight one day as my neck got worse, since then they got worse fast but leveled out and haven’t gotten worse for years. I’m not sure but it seems as if the cause for these floaters is vague at best and I just wanted to point out the similarity between Lisa and myself in the possibility that maybe it hasn’t been speculated that it’s possible Trauma or nerve damage causing these things. Also my right side is far worse as far as the floaters go and that’s where my nerve damage occurred. I’ve since had a spinal fusion so I’m ok on that front but I just wanted to offer up this hopefully helpful info. Dr Johnson, I would also be interested in volunteering for any help you might need as far as questions go , and even though as I’m 29 I hope to outlive you but in possibly donation of my eyes after death to examine the “potential” space where the floaters may exist or really just to see if they can be blasted safely. I know help is probably out of reach for me, but might be possible for future generations if knowledge is shared and people are brave enough to volunteer or allow
        Study

        • vitreousfloaters says:

          Trauma is a known factor with the development of floaters in all age groups. In the older age group, it may precipitate a posterior vitreous detachment. In younger people it is more speculative, but trauma may cause a very slight separation of the posterior vitreous from the macula creating a thin potential space trapping debris there. I really do not believe there is a connection between nerve damage and the onset of floaters. I just can’t come up with any mechanical, nervous, inflammatory, or blood borne mechanism or pathophysiology that would explain. In your case it may just be two separate entities and a coincidence. – Dr. J

  140. Jake says:

    Doctor Johnson,

    My first experience with floaters was when I was less than 10 years old. The crystalline worms in the first picture on this page describe them well. They were an interesting distraction as I could only see them when looking at the blue sky. Later at about twenty I noticed a dark spot that was fixed right where I would be reading. I was like a “follow the bouncy ball” sing-alongs from Sesame Street. This one went away in a couple years. I’m now almost 36 and have been dealing with floaters in both eyes for 10-12 years. I would say there are about three strands with in each eye that are relatively fixed in my vision. They do move around a bit when I move my eyes but will settle back into the center of my view. They aren’t what I would call defined but rather a constant dark transparent blotch or cloud in my vision. I can see them more defined if I put a piece of paper up to my nose and focus on them. There are also tons of floaters that will pop into my vision when I move my eyes quickly but will also settle down quickly. They don’t bother me as much but they do make me wonder how much worse this will get as I age. I know you can’t diagnose too well without looking but do my current issues sound like I have hope for treatment? I am an IT professional and it really affects me when looking at screens. Thank you for your time.

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      I can’t really diagnose at all properly without seeing the eye directly. If they are the same type of floaters you had in your twenties, I would guess that your floaters may very well be typical of those I see in their twenties. They may or may not be treatable. Based on my experience in evaluating younger patients, it is less likely. There may be some value to find out more definitively – only you can decide if it worth the time and expense to visit me here in Southern California to find out. – Dr. J

  141. Bill says:

    I’m a 40 year old male who has just recently aquired a mass about of floaters which are tons of strands with dark specks and some dark blobs in my vision. I went to two specialist who told me to just live with it. The first specialist said she couldn’t see anything and the second said she could. I find that I see them all day whether I’m indoors or outdoors and I can even see them with sunglasses or tinted glasses on. I find that they appear like a snow globe in my office where I use the computer and have bright lights. When I’m out in the sun I find that the sun shining on them makes the dark ones a little less noticeable. Do you think that my floaters might be treatable? Im ready to quit my job and spend my life in the dark :(. Also does anyone you know do this procedure in Canada? Thanks Bill

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      Bill, you are at the awkward in-between age as far as floaters go – Not quite in with the young group and not quite with the typical older patient. Thirty-to 45 years-olds who have not experienced a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) can have just about anything going on. It is nearly impossible to make any kind of statistical prediction based on the information you have provided. Although I often ask prospective patients what their doctor saw, that information is somewhat unreliable as well. For instance, you doctor that “saw” your floaters, may have seen “something”, but not necessarily the vitreous condensations that are actually bothering you. It just means they see something. OR, they may not have actually seen any floaters but were reluctant to admit that they didn’t see something that seems so obvious to you. Since there is no on e in Canada offering this procedure (that I am aware of), and before you commit to staying indoors for the rest of your life, you may have to make a trip to me or one of my colleagues to find out definitively.

  142. sanjib kumar dey says:

    sir,
    myself sanjib. I’m 17 yrs old. I noticed a floater in my left eye a month ago. my floater is not dark (little transparent) but at times is annoying. so is treatment possible in my case. please help.

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      Without examining your eye in person, I can not render a proper diagnosis or prognosis for any treatment. That said, based on your age alone, it is not as likely as with my older patients. – Dr. J

  143. Hannah says:

    Hello. I am an 18 year old female. I have noticed a floater in my left eye. It is a dark dot that seems to have strands of hair connected to it. Normally, I see it in the middle of my vision and then it will float down out of my field of vision. If I follow it, it will usually keep coming back into the middle of my vision. I had it checked out by my eye doctor, and she said it was just debris. I personally, am kind of freaked out by this, and need some more information about it. Please help me out!

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      You will not likely find more information about floaters and floaters treatment than here throughout this web site. To be young and with floaters is a tough situation as you are finding out. Laser is often not a safe option and the surgical vitrectomy’s risk profile is too significant for the relatively small amount of vitreous condensations seen in younger patients. -Dr. J

  144. Enzo Segon says:

    So, over time my floaters will go away from the retina? And then I do the treatment laser? Is it so? Is it only a matter of time? Or just the floats that are created in that time can be treatable?

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      I can’t answer these questions. There is no way to know. They may shift away from the retina and they may not.

  145. Mac says:

    I see floaters that are mainly when in a well lit room or outside. At night or with sunglasses they are basically not even there. When I turn my head or look right to left quick they appear. They look like a knot of fishing line or something in my eye. Do I have a brain disease or something any advice.

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      If you have shadows that move around in your vision, it is something in the vitreous fluid space casting a shadow onto your retina. There is nothing in the tear film layer, cornea, lens, retina, optic nerve, or brain that can duplicate those symptoms. For medico-legal reasons I can not rule out a specific condition based on your short description of symptoms and the fact that I have not had the opportunity to examine your eyes or brain. Even if I were quite confident your symptoms are due to vitreous floaters, I can not determine where the floaters are located within your eye or prognosticate the overall “treatability of your condition without a direct examination. – Dr. J

  146. Kandice says:

    Hello, I’m 21 and a year ago I got conked in the eye with a clump of dirt and woke up the next morning to find a dark, dense un-moving blob in the corner of my right eye. I went to the doctor immediately and he told me that the “blob” was blood, but that it was too dense to see into the back of my retina and to come back after a week when it had dispersed a little.

    It did break up (that night after I came home from the doctor) and when I went back he told me everything was fine. However, since then there’s always been 3 or 4 ‘pieces’ of it floating in my vision whenever I dart my eye back and forth. Over the past year it’s become much lighter, almost invisible nowadays when I’m outside under certain light and dart my eyes back and forth, and as months go by I notice certain (very tiny) improvement in how light it gets, especially compared to a year ago but…it’s still there. I have anxiety, so this “blood floater” as I called it was something that caused me MONTHS of distress last year. I recently visited my eye doctor for a normal check up and everything was fine, but when I tried to ask her about the remnants of the floater that are still in my eye she quickly dismissed the topic and basically told me that any blood would have disappeared within weeks of the injury and that I have to get used to what I’m seeing now.

    I know you can’t accurately diagnose me through a computer screen, but is what I’m seeing in my eye today still remnants of the blood, or are they actual pieces of my vitreous? Is it normal for blood to last this long in a younger patient’s eyes such myself since my vitreous is still well formed and more solid compared to an elderly person? And will whatever’s in my eye ever fully go away or will I have to live with this for the rest of my life?

    I have many tiny circular floaters in my eyes that I have gotten used to over the years, but this “blood floater” has always been a source of anguish for me because it’s just not gone yet.

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      Well your story is a bit unusual compared to the typical younger patient. Vitreous hemorrhage released red blood cells (RBC’s)of various ages into that vitreous space. A brand-spanking new RBC lives about 3-4 months before losing its hemoglobin and shriveling up. Dead and dying RBCs in the blood stream are broken up and the components recycled. Blood in other tissues (like muscle and fat or skin as in a bruise) are broken down gradually over a period of days or weeks and eventually clear out completely. The vitreous space is different as it is non-vascular and really doesn’t have the means or mechanism to clear out debris like old RBCs or condensed and collapsed collagen protein (typical floaters). I have seen eyes with old hemorrhage that seems to had consolidated the old “ghost” RBC’s into stable floaters. This might be what seems to remain in your eye. There is still no sure way to know where the floaters are located and if they are safely treatable. Even if looking directly into your eye it is sometimes difficult to predict the “treatability”. That’s one of the facts about treating eye floaters that keep it interesting and keeps me on my toes, so to speak. It might be helpful if there was some imaging of your floaters perhaps via ultrasound. If the U/S showed a prominent density in the middle of the eye, that might lend towards your conditions being more likely a candidate for treatment. – Dr. J

      • Kandice says:

        Dr. J,

        Thank you for your response.

        If you don’t mind, I do have a few more questions:

        Are there any long term effects to the RBCs remaining in my eye for this long? I’ve read on the internet of “ghost cell glaucoma” from vitreous hemorrhage, or is that only when there is a lot of blood that fills up the vitreous and has nowhere to go?

        Also, is there a chance that what I’m seeing could go away completely, especially when there seems to be improvement (getting lighter and less noticeable) as the months go by? It is nowhere near as dark as it was a year ago, or even 4 months ago. Would you recommend I go see someone like yourself (I actually think I can come to you, since I live near by) to get a full evaluation, or will I be okay living with this as is? As much as I don’t want the tiny bit that’s left in my eye anymore, I am afraid of having surgery to remove it.

        • vitreousfloaters says:

          I would wait and allow it the opportunity to get better on its own. It still warrants some monitoring, e.g. eye pressure, intermittently with your local eye care provider. This may mean waiting several months to give it a fair opportunity top get better on its own. – Dr. Johnson

  147. Gonzalo Bruno says:

    Could it be that the very young like me (13 years) my floaters may be treatable?. Because some of them are pretty dark, and I think this is related to the distance of the retina. Any chance I can be treated with this operation?

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      Dark and distinct floaters in a young person are probably situated close to the retina. I would be reluctant to treat a young person like you under those circumstances.

  148. Gonzalo Bruno says:

    Dr.Johnson Hello, I have 13 years old, I’m speaking from Argentina, my floaters are dark. Means that are closer or further from the retina Or what varies is the size that floaters?

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      As a general rule, the darker and more distinct the floater edges and outline, the closer it is to the retina.

  149. Martin says:

    First of all, thank you Dr. for putting up such an informative site. I am a 30 year old male who has been experiencing floaters for about 15 years. Due to a stupid and childish accident in my teens my eyes were exposed to a strong base. I experienced no vision loss, luckily, but not long after that I began to experience my first floater. The situation was fine for about 10 years but over the past 5 years I’ve noticed the number of floaters slowly increasing. My floaters vary from clear, transparent “crystal worms” to a couple brownish globs and a bunch of stringy shadows. They are worse in my left eye, which ironically was not the eye which experienced the brunt of my injury. About 2 years ago I went to an ophthamologist after a referral from my GP. There I had a dilated eye exam and OCT and nothing abnormal was found. Not surprisingly from what I’ve read on this blog the doctor could not even see my floaters. I also had a recent dilated eye exam from an optometrist and nothing abnormal was found. The floaters are most irritating when I’m using the computer, especially if it’s a light background, or when I’m outside on bright, sunny or even overcast days. Sunglasses improve my quality of life a great deal but aren’t practical all the time. Thanks to your website I now understand that I’m likely not a candidate for laser treatment.

    This may be a stupid idea, but if floaters are just debris floating in the gel-like vitreous then would a simple solution simply be to “centrifuge” them down to the bottom of the eye where they won’t be seen? I know, obviously, that you cannot remove someone’s eyes to do this but if you were instead to attach a person to a rotating platform and spin them around might not this debris settle to the bottom of the eye? I’m thinking of one of those devices they use to train NASA astronauts for the g-forces experienced during space flight, only modified for ophthalmic use! If it works it could be a safe, non-invasive treatment for eye floaters although it might be a bit uncomfortable…

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      I think the density (of the microscopic condensations causing floaters symptoms in younger patients) is not much more than the surrounding, unaffected vitreous. They are essentially neutrally buoyant and held in position by a network of elastic, cross-linked collagen strands. The idea of a centrifuge is something I have thought about before during some of my free-thinking creative binges.
      Nasa Centrifuge
      I would be concerned about some of the unintended consequences of spinning the body at such g-forces necessary. In addition to the comical appearance,
      Just one of the potential effects of spinning a person in a centrifuge
      I’d be concerned about blood pooling in the extremes of the body or spinning the brain into one-half of the skull- you know, things like that.

      • Martin says:

        Thank you for replying doctor. Your pictures made me laugh out loud.

        If floaters are neutrally buoyant and held in place then what is the basis for the commonly quoted lore that over time they will sink to the bottom of the eye due to gravity and cease to be a nuisance?

        • vitreousfloaters says:

          From “Bedside Manners Skills for the Clinician” “…when you are unable to provide a tangible treatment or therapeutic option, it is often best to give the patient some hope that their condition will spontaneously improve. These platitudes of reassurance and hope cannot be contested and you can move on to other patients.”

  150. arun says:

    sir , i am 30 years old young boy and i have a floaters both black and white coloured in both of my eyes from last three months , i just want to know whether there is any chance that it may go automatically.


    reply: of course there is a chance. I have never seen actually statistics to predict the likelihood of it happening, but it is possible.

  151. Michael says:

    I just wanted to clarify that when you say that the defined, close to the retina floaters “occur mostly in young men in their twenties through early thirties. They are still described occasionally in the third decade and very rarely occur in the 40 and older population” does that mean that they go away as one gets older? And if so, why do they go away?


    No one knows if they go away. There are no large population-based studies to show the natural history of these things. I can only observe what happens to walk into my office. I have seen some of these “younger type” floaters in people in their 40’s. I can’t say whether they get better, or older floater sufferers have just accepted their presence. The floaters I usually treat are NOT these floaters that have moved into a position or location that is safer to treat. I usually treat separate and larger condensations of vitreous – especially those associated with a posterior vitreous detachment.

  152. James Stoltz says:

    I recently did some experiments that suggest micro-floaters being a problem of neurological vision processing and not a problem with the eyes themselves. In the first I took a globular plastic flask and filled it with water, I mixed in some particles of sand and shook it up, then went outside (it was night) and looked through the flask at a streetlight. The grains of sand had Newton’s rings patterns and looked exactly like my micro-floaters do. I got my friend to look through the same flask and he could not see Newton’s rings around the sand particles.

    Also as most all of us know, when squinting into a light or looking through a small hole into a light source it causes floaters of all types to become more visible due to the light being focused more on the floaters. Often when I find myself thinking about the micro-floaters I will squint into the nearest light or make a tiny hole with my hand and look through it, immediately they will become highly visible. I’ve observed that when I put grains of sand or hairs between my forefinger and thumb, close them together to make a small crack and look through it into light, I see the micro-floater refraction pattern around the sand and hairs between my fingers.

    I am not totally sure yet, but I am starting to suspect that everyone has these micro-floaters but most people can’t see them. The problem is not the micro-floaters, it is a malfunction in the visual cortex. I have suggested this before, that to prove this hypothesis you could examine people who don’t see micro-floaters and try to find micro-floaters in them. I know they are hard to find but if you could find one in even one person who doesn’t see them it would give credibility to this theory.


    reply: I disagree with your statement “it is a malfunction in the visual cortex“. Some people are more attuned to visual phenomenon, and some less so. Some of the pinhole testing will bring out some of the small vitreous irregularities that most of us have. Understand, the vitreous starts out embryologically with multiple blood vessels passing through it. The vessels regress and essentially disappear before birth with some remnants left behind. I don’t have floaters myself, but with the right apparatus and testing, I can see some of these irregularities as well.

  153. Mark says:

    Hi,

    I’m a young guy, early twenties experiencing what appears to be “close to retina” floaters for nearly 1 year now. I understand the lack of medical knowledge surrounding this topic, but can you speculate if there are any specific types of underlying pathological problems that may cause floaters in some younger people and not in others? I’ve read connections exist between floaters and stress/HIV/trauma/migraines…could you possibly expand on any of these connections? I’m specifically curious about how an HIV infection may cause floaters without the existence of a PVD. Is this type of issue usually associated with HAARP therapy or does the virus itself cause eye problems? Thank you


    reply: Most of the associations of floaters in younger patients that I have heard or read about seem to be anecdotal. I think it is possible that some medications, or possibly systemic conditions may contribute to these things, but I haven’t seen any consistent patterns in the people that contact me. Not much is really known about this condition in younger people.

  154. RyL says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,
    I’m currently 20 now, few months back I started to have blurred vision, that will sometimes be on the left, and sometimes on the right eye. It kind of like today it’s the left eye that is having blurred vision, the next day it will be the right. I thought it was eye strain, so I didn’t really care too much about it. Then, I started to have double vision, that will suddenly occur.
    I noticed two small grey spots, one in each of my eyes. I didn’t care too much about it either, but recently, it started to increase. Around the grey spots, it started to have transparent clumps, surrounding the grey spot, in both of my eyes. The clumps are not small, it looks like a plant cell to me. These transparent clumps and grey spots will kind of make the words on the computer screen to have blur spots.
    I can focus on the clumps and grey spots, but slowly it will start to disappear after focusing for some time.
    Are these considered floaters, as I thought floaters will be moving around in the vision, but mine is stationary?
    I really hope that its not retinal detachment, after I did some readings on this issue.
    What will these symptoms be or lead to?
    Thanks! :)



    some of your questions is able to answer is ophthalmology is a good visual specialty of medicine. I cannot give you any definitive diagnosis or reassurance for reasons worry as for me. It would be irresponsible to do so. For intermittent was vision and some of your other symptoms, you can go and have a comprehensive eye examination. As to your transparent ones, those do sound suspicious for the holding of vitreous collagen is commonly seen in younger patients. Floaters do not necessarily move a lot, but they do somewhat. In the younger patients they tend to be set in a More viscous layer with less degrees of movement. Floaters should be renamed as “suspenders” as they tend to be suspended in position rather than free-floating.

  155. James Stoltz says:

    I too have large halos around all lights in addition to my micro-floaters. In fact, if the micro-floaters were the only thing I had wrong with my vision I would jump for joy. I am interested in the micro-floaters only because I believe they can tell me more about my condition overall.

    What occurred to me to ask you Dr. Johnson, is that Dr. Geller has said that these micro-floaters have a tendency to appear after LASIK surgery. I know that the glare and halos around lights is another common complication of LASIK. Does this to you suggest that the two phenomenon are related, and we are seeing micro-halos around the micro-floaters causing them to become more visible?


    reply: It is impossible to know for sure without examining the eye in person, but halos are more likely to be an optical phenomenon related to aberrations of the cornea from the laser procedure. Wavefront technology has reduced the incidence of halos but has not eliminated it entirely. The micro-floaters may be caused by the momentary distortion of the eye that occurs when the section ring is applied I went corneal flap is created. This elevated pressure in distortion may cause a slight separation of the vitreous from the retina and the macular region. No one knows for sure and it is not a well studied phenomenon. I think to conditions are only related to each other by the fact that they were temporally associated with your laser procedure.

    • James Stoltz says:

      Thanks for the reply.

      I personally never had a laser procedure or LASIK. I have Visual Snow Syndrome. This is a disease with a symptom constellation of visual snow, palinopsia, halos around lights, tinnitus, intensified Scheerer’s phenomenon (I use the Scheerer’s name because I think it is more accurate than blue field entoptic phenomenon, since those of us with Visual Snow Syndrome see this phenomenon in additional colors other than “blue”, including white, light brown, and grey) but the most common symptom aside from visual snow itself is this type of micro-floater.

      Not only do people with Visual Snow Syndrome get micro-floaters, but we tend to get a lot of them. When many people with Visual Snow Syndrome (including me) squint into a light, we see literally sheets and sheets of micro-floaters. I see “crystal worm” strands of the micro-floaters in normal conditions without squinting, but when I squint into a light there is not one area of my entire vision that does not have a micro-floater in it, and this is the same with other people who have VS.

      If it is ok, I would like to make a post at the visual snow Facebook group to try and get someone in California who has VS syndrome and these sheets of micro-floaters to go to you for an examination. The question I have is whether these floaters have resulted from physical changes in the eyes of VSS patients or if a neurological distortion in vision that is causing them to become more visible. I know the micro-floaters are hard to find, but considering how many of the micro-floaters some people with visual snow syndrome see, maybe it will be easier to find them in us.


      the visual snow syndrome is one of those rare conditions that not much is known about. I think you can learn more about it from the patient and you can from any textbooks were studies. Thank you for your thoughts and contribution.

  156. Claudio Canales says:

    Hello Doctor , im from Chile and i am 18 years old and i have a question , its about the floaters , about 4 or 5 years ago I see the floaters and when i see to strongest lights I see the floaters and in another case when I see some lights in darkness i see like a ring or halo of light around the light for example a tv with white light in the darkness like if I see through a uncleaned windshield and in the darkness, almost no light , I see like shapes moving like the floaters but I can not identify the shapes and its not allows me to see deep into the darkness, i want to ask if thats the symptoms are normal or not .
    i went to differents doctors to see my eyes and they said that my eyes was ok and that i had to learn to live with that.
    excuse my english , i speak spanish , thanks .


    reply: If the shapes are moving around, then they are likely some variations of floaters. Haloes and glare are some other optical phenomenon. Floaters in younger people are typically small, microscopic, and close to the retina where they are not likely to be good candidates for treatment with the laser.

  157. Ricardo says:

    Hello Doctor’ Is there a relation of LASIK with floaters? Because I didn’t have any floaters before LASIK, but a week later the surgery, floaters began to appear!!! And with time they started to increase! Doctors say that my retina is perfect and that they don’t see any problem with my vitreous.


    reply: I do not believe that it is very common, but I have heard from a few people who claim the same association. It is possible. There is some manipulation of the eye, some distortion of the globe (with the suction ring) as well as some mild inflammation. I don’t think it is common enough to be considered a public safety issue, and it may or may not be specifically mentioned in the informed consent document but likely falls under the catchall generalized “…and other stuff may happen that we can not anticipate” or something like that. If I were a betting man, I’d suggest that the shadows you are seeging are typical of a younger patient – small, and close to the retina.

  158. Mariah says:

    Hey,
    So I decided to go ahead and Google these weird things I keep seeing when I look up at the sky, and so far all this has scared me. I’m only fourteen, and I was wondering if there’s any other possibilities, something not super bad as this sounds. I don’t wear glasses or contacts, but whenever I look at the sky I can usually see these little dots, at one point I thought maybe my eyes were magnifying molecules (ha-ha ridiculous right?), but apparently not. Any advice?
    – M


    Mariah, Well the good news is that it is probably NOT as bad as it sounds. The crazy little shadows that are bothering you are likely microscopic clumps and condensations of the normally perfectly clear vitreous fluid. Based on your age alone, I will suggest that they are sitting near and “sliding” along very close to the retina. Anywhere else in the eye (or body for that matter) and they would be completely undetectable and without any symptoms. Of course, I can not render a specific medical diagnosis without seeing the eye in person and so I can only speak in generalizations. My standard advice is get a local eye examination. They will likely just reassure you that the eye is perfectly healthy – and it probably is. There is no way to predict if they will get better, worse, or stay the same. Very little is known about the “why’s” of floaters in young patients.

  159. Alan says:

    Thanks Dr Johnson for this site.

    I’m 35 and I have a particularly strange floater in each eye for the last 4 months. I was hoping you could tell me if you have heard of this kind before.

    The best way I can describe it is if I look at a bright object in a darkened area (say a laptop or TV screen in a dark room, or a bright window in a dark room, or even the sun setting on the hill) then move my eyes left to right quickly I see a:

    – white haze, cloudy glob, smear of vaseline pass by each eye
    – it CAN take up to 50% of my vision (depending on the brightness of the background),
    – its transparent
    – undefined border
    – its like a refraction of light passing by
    – it moves as fast as my eye movement but in the opposite direction
    – as soon as I stop moving my eyes it disappears (must be the brain compensating), it never just passes by my vision when eyes are still

    It can also go up and down if my eyes are moving that way. So basically, they just go in the opposite direction. I know the small floater kind, but these are not this type.

    I’ve been COMPLETELY checked out. All fine and normal… nothing to see!

    Have you heard of this type before? I know its difficult without examination but could it be a clump of floaters in the premacular bursa region?

    Cheers
    Alan


    reply: It sounds more like a syneresis-type of floater. Essentially an area of vitreous that has less water content and appears more translucent and cloud-like rather than the more typical fine fibers and dots/specks that are typical of younger patients. It may want to reside more in the periphery where you wouldn’t normally be aware of it, and the rapid rotational eye movement may swing in more central where you see it and then it drifts back to its home base in the periphery. Just a thought without having seen it in person. By the way, these transparent cloud floater are VERY difficult for the eye examiner to see on examination. If your doctor seemed under-impressed and you are not even sure if he/she saw it, it wouldn’t surprise me. Quite often, I’ll struggle to find these and no one is more motivated to find them than me.

  160. hari says:

    sir
    i am 18 now and i have been having floaters(worm like) since the age of ten in both eyes.they have not changed in number or shape since then and now i almost started to ignore them.
    sir am i having a dangerous problem.
    i am not even myopic.
    do i have to go on with them for the rest of my life????
    sir why do people get floater at so young age.
    regards, hari


    reply: Hari, Nobody has studied the natural history and long term effects of these small, but bothersome floaters in young people. No one really knows whether they get better, get worse, or stay the same. There simply isn’t much known about them or what causes them in the first place. It may just be a variation of normal, and since it doesn’t affect survivability of the organism (you ad others that preceded you) I suppose there is no reason for natural selection to choose for or eliminate that feature or trait. It may just be part of the entropy of life. Good luck. Dr. J

  161. Nishant Raj says:

    Hello Doc,

    I am 18 years old and i am suffering from eye floaters.I first developed eye floater when i was 16 but for two years they were very small and i rarely noticed them.Over the past three months there has been increase in number of floaters and now i can see some squibbly lines and transparent circles.So, is there any method to treat them?

    I know that floaters in young people are usually very close to retina in premacular Bursa region but can a drug called ocriplasmin which induces a safe PVD by increasing the separation between retina and vitreous be used for treating floaters in younger patients like me.

    Is there anyway to prevent onset of more floaters? Does eye strain have to do anything with eye floaters?And, why do eye floaters develop in younger people?

    Regards,
    Nishant


    Reply: I am sorry to hear about your floaters. Thanks for the prompt about Ocriplasmin. I decided to write a bit about it and add it to one of my web site pages. You can read about my thoughts on Ocriplasmin here: http://wp.me/P26WS8-10 near the bottom of the page.

    You ask good questions that do not have clear and definitive answers. Eye strain (or overuse, such as using the computer monitors) should not have any relation to eye floaters. There have not been any studies that help us understand the problem in younger patients. I’m not even sure how one could be designed.

  162. Angel Gzz says:

    Hi, I’m from Monterrey Mexico, I have 33years, I am not diabetic and have never had any kind of surgeries in my eyes. I see floaters and ophthalmologist says ignore me and only offer. for me it is very annoying because when going through my vision center break light me for a moment and it’s frustrating. I would like to ask you Dr.
    1. I do not speak English, you have assistants who speak Spanish?
    reply: I do not have any staff that speak Spanish. Some of my Asian patients have hired local translators to help with the language barrier.

    2. I have to get some particular study before visit you to diagnose me?
    reply: No, not really. I have not found it particularly helpful, the floater evaluations performed by other doctors. There is no standard way of describing them and the typical instruments we use are not very good and visualizing the floaters.

    3. Mexico to visit my country in the future?
    reply: Not any time soon, unless I can get to compete in the Ironman Triathlon Cozumel someday. To treat professionally, I would have to be invited official to treat or teach or educate.
    4. patients had Monterrey Mexico or another city that I could share his experience with laser treatment you do?
    reply: No.

    5. the pressure in my eyes is normal after treatment is risky for me to not have the normal pressure of my eyes?
    reply: Based on your age, it is not likely that you will be a candidate for treatment. Eye pressure elevation is rare, but younger people do not really have enough material present to cause an eye pressure response.

    6. knows a doctor in Mexico who has contact with you?.
    reply: No.
    thanks for your answers Dr. Johnson, Greetings from Monterrey Mexico.

    • Angel Gzz says:

      thanks for answering all our questions Dr. Johnson, you do more than many to understand our problems with floaters,. before you told me that because of my age, 33, would not be a candidate for treatment with YAG, but as you say, it’s hard to know where are located the floaters with only the patient’s description, the valuation is better there in his office I think taking the risk of traveling to a date of valuation made ​​by you, really dedicated to depth to floater treatment is much better to sit here and do nothing and resign myself to live like that, besides, there is a small percentage of patients younger than 35 if they have been successfully treated by you.
      My questions are:
      1. do you know if exercise, running, playing sports like soccer, baseball etc, an increase of floaters?
      reply: Although not much is known about the problem of floaters in younger patients, I personally do not believe that exercises or head movements or muscular strain is because of the floaters or will aggravate them in any way.
      2. There floats to be very close to the retina are not treatable, however, if you find that if one or more stand to be destroyed can be done?
      reply:In addition to the problem of the location of the floaters in younger patients, I think the end point of treatment would be nearly impossible to achieve. If for instance a young patient had several small, distinct, dark floaters near the center part of their vision and let us say I was able to treat half of them. The patient would still have half of the floaters still present and still bothering them. I think with younger patients I would need to get essentially 100% of the problem taking care of. It is one of the additional factors that makes the prospect of treating younger patients to a satisfactory outcome unlikely. The older patients do not need 100% of their floater problem taken care of for them to be very happy with the outcome. If a different set of expectations between the younger patients and the older patients, in my experience.
      3. Just because you move up years will likely be increasing YAG candidate?
      reply: Not necessarily and not likely. The floaters that younger people have are a completely different category and type and location than the floaters in the older population. The older group have floaters associated with a posterior vitreous detachment. The small and microscopic vitreous condensations near the retina do not grow up to be the bigger floaters as seen with older patients. If the younger patient were to experience a true posterior vitreous detachment I do not think that they would see their floaters anymore.

      any response from you Dr. Johnson, for me is a priceless treasure,.
      as we say in Mexico: THERE ARE WORSE THAN FIGHT NOT TRY!

  163. chetan says:

    Hello Dr. Johnson,
    I am 28 yr male. My floaters started 3 months after my LASIK four years ago. It is not clear to me if they are closer to retina. I have few of them, of which two are big ,one in each eye. They are like strands. I can observe the floater is there in my left eye but rarely I was able to put a focus to see what shape it was. On my right eye though I could see the floater moving, the shape is not distinct meaning that it changes shape from time to time. In the same day at different times they appear to be in different shapes. They move very fast even with little movement of my vision. Based on this, do you think mine are near cornea or near retina? I am not looking for treatment right now as it looks like I am not good candidate, but curious to know if something can be done about them.
    Where do you see the future treatment options for floaters for people who are not candidates for YAG treatment?
    Also, I appreciate your help in answering the questions, and I appreciate your efforts in bringing the necessity of floaters treatment to serious note in ophthalmology community and with pharmaceutical companies. Thank you


    Reply: based on your age and your perception of rapid movement of the shadows and my experience with evaluating young patients, I think your floaters are much more likely to be closer to the retina and the cornea. The floaters near the cornea cannot give you form your distinct shapes and appear to move slower. unfortunately, most young patients like yourself have not proven to be good candidates for the laser treatment.

  164. shabc says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,
    I am also a fairly young floater sufferer. My floaters started at age 30 and 4 years later my entire field of vision in both eyes is completely filled with literally thousands and thousands of floaters. Fat ones, skinny ones, small ones, big ones… Many doctors have admitted that they can see floaters, though clearly they cannot appreciate the severity and sometimes claim to see none at all. My main question is, if doctors often cannot appreciate these thousands of enormous (to me) floaters inside my eye, how can a doctor claim to be able to tell whether I have inflammatory cells within my eyeball, which surely are much smaller than floaters? I realise you cannot comment on my individual situation, but I am asking this because my severe floaters started at the same time that I began to develop severe pain in my eyes, which quickly escalated to a corneal ulcer in the worse eye. Ever since I have suffered from keratitis, corneal erosions and abrasions, much scarring to the surface of my eyes, as well as the ever increasing floaters. My keratitis etc has barely responded to even the most aggressive treatment with strong steroid drops. Yet the docs keep telling me that they know there is no inflammation or anything wrong inside my eyeballs, even though they have never even done a dilated eye exam. My skepticism increased when I developed deep, severe pain inside my eyeballs which spread all over my head and jaw like a drill through my skull. The doctors also ignored my crippling photophobia attacks which are worse than corneal ulcer photophobia but in the absence of the type of pain etc that I get with that. Still they tell me that they would be able to easily “see” if there was inflammation inside my eyeballs causing this even though they have never dilated my eyes and have maybe looked inside my eyeballs for perhaps a few seconds, if at all. I would really appreciate your opinion as to whether a doctor who can’t see or appreciate my floaters and only looks inside my eyes for maybe a second or two undilated, can really claim to know whether there is nothing more sinister, such as inflammation spreading inside my eyes, that is causing my terrible floaters. I feel I am being judged and discriminated against due to me suffering from those conditions most hated by eye docs i.e. severe floaters and severe ocular surface disease, and can’t get an unbiased opinion due to this. Thanks.



    reply: It sure sounds like intraocular inflammation from what you describe. The floaters in younger people are very difficult to see. Some are nearly cellular in size, especially when due to inflammation. Sometime the indicators of inflammation are described as “cell and flare” on examination. To us it looks like the dust and smoke and debris that you might see in the projected light in a movie theater. Very difficult to see on a microscopic level, through a small aperture, in a dark space light the eye. Your description of symptoms and lack of resolution may indicate the need to see a uveitis (eye inflammation) specialist perhaps through the local teaching hospital or university hospital.
    The hundreds of small floaters you describe combined with your younger age do not sound like they would be a candidate for treatment with the laser, unfortunately. -Dr. J

  165. dottie says:

    I’m 24 years old. I’ve had the snow vision since I was young (10 ish) I also see floaters as well. I went to three different eye doctors here in WV – All three doctors said my eyes were fine. One said it was normal with the floaters. Nobody seemed to know about the snow vision though. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me but other times it will put me in panic attacks. I noticed that whenever I’m stressed I get them more. It scares me especially when eye doctors don’t even know what to say.


    “Snow Vision”, the static-like interference that some people are bothered by, is unrelated to the condensation of vitreal collagen protein that I treat here in my office. It is probably more neurological in origin and not treatable with the laser that I use in my office. Unfortunately, I will not be of much help to you. – Dr. Johnson

  166. James Stoltz says:

    Dr. Johnson,

    Was this demographics data about micro-floaters in people under 35 being distinct from normal floaters in older people something that was uncovered by the group of ophthalmologists specializing in laser vitreolysis? Or was this information known before ophthalmologists started treating floaters with the YAG laser? It seems to me that you and your colleagues have been instrumental in bringing this data to light and advancing understanding of micro-floaters.

    You have said that micro-floaters are more common in men, can you give a more specific estimate of your micro-floaters patients who are men? Do you have any ideas why micro-floaters would be more common in men?

    I believe that these micro-floaters are in some people a symptom of an underlying pathology. This is shown by a survey of over 250 visual snow sufferers in which floaters are reported as the second most prevalent symptom aside from visual snow itself. You can find the survey here and question #7 shows the information about the symptom constellation and the prevalence of floaters:

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=IpgFGgCVddFGK0_2bcQVqs8mfE65DgdQHL9noWnOa_2boU0_3d

    You will also note from the survey that 83% of respondents are under the age of 35 and 66% are males.


    reply: My observations are practical and based only on what I see in my office, or what comes to me via email and phone messages or comments on my web site. Most of the younger floater sufferers that contact me are male (>90%). That may not be the same thing as what a large, RANDOM population-based survey might produce. We (floater treatment doctors) see a self-selected population of people that are really bothered by their floaters. Maybe males are more bothered or debilitated psychologically be their floaters and are more likely to seek help. Maybe females are more likely to accept the advice of their local eye care provider and “learn to live with them”. Maybe females are ultimately for adaptable than males!! Maybe guys are more likely to have some touch of type A or OCD behaviour tendencies that make living with a bothersome floater unacceptable. There is no large survey or study that I am aware of that addresses this issue of floaters in young people. Studies take money and time and I don’t think there is the lure of a payoff to get this information. At least not now. There would be no payoff even for those of us that do specialize in the treatment of floaters. It doesn’t matter if bothersome floaters affected 1% or 20% of young people. We still can’t treat these microscopic condensation that are too close to the retina – with the laser anyways.

    So to get to your question, I don’t think we can just assume that micro-floaters are more common in men, that’s just what we happen to see here in our office.

    • James Stoltz says:

      Thanks as always for your answer.

      Though, if it were true that the gender disparity is caused by females being more adaptable and more likely to just accept them, why wouldn’t we see a similar gender disparity in all types of floaters instead of just micro-floaters? And intuitively, females seem like they would be LESS likely to accept them since they are also less accepting of skin wrinkles, grey hair, and other degenerative type things, while men are usually more tough minded and able to ignore things like this.

      Also I have talked to other laser vitreolysis floater specialists and they all say that their micro-floater patients are mostly men. So this isn’t just one office, it’s every laser vitreolysis clinic around the world saying that their micro-floater patients are mostly men.

      I believe there is something here waiting to be discovered. Not only because people with visual snow almost always get micro-floaters at the same time as their snow and because the demographics match, but also because in looking around the floater forums, I see many people with micro-floaters reporting other symptoms related to visual snow syndrome even though they don’t actually have visual snow itself. I see many people with micro-floaters who also report tinnitus, increased visibility of Scheerer’s phenomenon, increased visibility of Purkinje’s tree, halos around lights, etc. So much that I actually think a more correct name rather than “visual snow syndrome” would be “micro-floater syndrome”. I also believe they’re not just noticing these things more due to a neurotic anxiety as they are often written off as. I believe there’s a genuine medical abnormality. Since floater specialists are able to sometimes see micro-floaters in the exact same way that patients draw them, this proves the patients are really seeing something that normal people can’t see.

      One of the biggest questions I have is whether the onset of these micro-floaters means they really did form in the eye when they weren’t there before, or if there’s damage to the visual cortex that causes micro-floaters that have always been there to become more visible. As I believe when most normal people look through a pinhole into a light source, they’re able to see micro-floaters. I thought of a way we could find out, and that is if you examine normal people who don’t see floaters and try to find micro-floaters in them. If you were able to find micro-floaters in normal people that would give evidence that this is a neurological issue.

      I do think there would be a payoff to study micro-floaters as any information and discoveries gained could have applications to other diseases. If society can spend billions of dollars to send a robot to Mars and study red rocks, then surely there must be way to initiate study and research of micro-floaters. I think that if the general medical community was made more aware that there’s this distinct type of floater occurring in young men, then there might be more interest. I’m reminded of a quote by G.K. Chesterton: “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem.”

      • Andreas says:

        James,
        i am 37, male and have had tinnitus for a year, and i began noticing micro-floaters three weeks after the tinnitus set on. I also think that micro-floaters are a perception problem and that a lot of adult people have them but only a minority sees them. It may be a neurological issue. Not a damage in the virtual cortex but an up-regulation of rod cells in the retina because of anxiety and lack of sleep, many tinnitus sufferers have to go through this. Or there may be a virus attacking the auditory nerve and the retina which then releases cells into the vitreous clumping together to floaters. I also believe there is something here waiting to be discovered. Too bad i can’t contact you personally.

  167. Abdullah says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson .. Before 8 years old I had swipe in my left eye after then I see some floaters .. then I went to Dr .. Dr say : ” your Retina is good ” , ” you don’t have any floaters ” .. I am 23 years old now .. I feel > I can’t Complete my study and I can’t complete my life .. please help my Dr. Johnson and give me some Advices . :( Thank you.



    Based on your age alone, it is unlikely that the laser is the appropriate tool to fix your problem. There are exceptions, but they are rare, and it would be irresponsible to promote the procedure otherwise – especially considering the long distance patients must often travel. – Dr. J

    • Abdullah says:

      What I can do To live with the floaters ” Without surgery ” ?



      Sometimes, people just have to live with them if they are not a good candidate for treatment, unfortunately. – Dr. J

  168. Murat says:

    Hi. I am a 21 year old boy and i first started noticing my floaters about six months ago. Since then, they have gradualLy got worsen. I visited two ophthalmologists and they assured me that my retina was fine, but mentioned a little about the causes. What is the list of neurological/autoimmune conditions that floaters can be a symptoms off? I am a little concerned about this topic because one of my doctors mentioned Multiple Sclerosis as one of the causes of floaters in young persons. Thanks in advance.



    reply: I disagree with your doctor’s statement and approach. Any slight irregularity of the vitreous collagen, if close enough to the retina can cause a moving shadow. Some of these are remnant of fetal development of the eye, and some will develop later, but as early as in the teens. In my experience, these moving shadows in young people are not associated with systemic diseases, but are just anomalies of the vitreous proteins. There are some very rare exceptions such as after trauma, possibly some medications, and who knows what else. No one has studied these floaters in younger people thoroughly and over enough time to make any conclusions. I only know about them from the patients I communicate with and examine in person. I have not found any conclusive and consistent risk factors in these younger patients that may be associated with their symptoms.
    Multiple sclerosis can cause episodes of optic neuritis which are autoimmune related attacks to the optic nerve and cause some dark or grey diminished areas of vision. These are not floaters, though. These attacks cause obvious diminished vision and color sense, and then typically resolve, although not quite to 100% typically.
    It would be as if I told every patient they may have a rare parasitic worm that has dispensed itself from the blood stream and into the vitreous space. Although technically possible, it would be incredibly rare, and very irresponsible to plant the seed of that image in their head. There is a saying in medicine, “If you hear hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras”

    I can not dispense definitive medical advice in this venue ultimately. If you need to get a second opinion locally, do so. – Dr. J

  169. James Stoltz says:

    Thanks Dr. Johnson for answering all our questions on here, you have done more than anybody to educate the general public about micro floaters.

    I have a few more questions, and another theory I wanted to ask your opinion on.

    1. Even though Jearl Walker was wrong about micro floaters being red blood cells, do you think he was right about us seeing them as a diffraction pattern of light? My own micro floaters have a ring within ring appearance that looks exactly like “Newton’s rings”, a light interference pattern that occurs when light reflects between a spherical surface and an adjacent flat surface.


    reply: You may be right. I think the “crystal worm” type floaters may be causing a diffraction pattern from the very small strand, or they may be the refraction pattern (not diffraction) of a semitransparent glass-like structure. RBS’s have a doughnut shape to them and could render a ring-like shadow, or a small gobular, translucent structure could also be responsible for you ring-within-a ring shadow pattern. People can see shadows from objects as small as a single cell, if it close enough to the retina. We who are examining the eye will not have that kind of optical resolution regardless of the amount of magnification. The questions remain un-resolved, if you will.

    2. I also had a theory about the disease entity I suffer from and I mentioned earlier that is characterized by visual snow, palinopsia, appearance of many micro-floaters, increased Scheerer’s phenomenon, glare around lights, and tinnitus. No one knows what is causing this yet but it’s believed by some researchers to be related to migraine.


    reply: My understanding is that headache migraines and ophthalmic migraines are related to vasospasm events in the blood vessels which temporarily decrease the blood flow to an area of the brain or the eye. The visual phenomenon and/or pre-headache “aura” are related to this part. The headache is caused by reflex vasodilation which stretches out the walls of the blood vessels which is painful. These are temporary phenomenon. I’m not sure how it would related to the multitude of symptoms you describe.

    So my idea is, if there is a neurological malfunction which is distorting someone’s vision, it would make sense that not only vision of the external environment would become distorted, but vision of the entoptic environment would become distorted as well, and that entoptic objects such as the micro floaters which normally be invisible could then become more visible due to changes in the way the brain processes contrast and other visual information.

    Just as palinopsia could cause increased Scheerer’s phenomenon due to seeing longer afterimages of the white blood cells, could it also be that neurological contrast problems resulting in increased perception of glare coming off objects, or some other neurological malfunction, could make the micro-floaters more visible?

    It seems to me that in normal people these entoptic objects exist just below the threshold of awareness, a lot of people are able to see micro-floaters if they look through a pinhole into light, for instance, and most people are able to see Scheerer’s under certain conditions. So already most people are seeing these entoptic phenomena slightly, and it would not take much distortion at all to increase the visibility of these previously subliminal visuals to the point that people are able to see them.

    So in regards to people with migraines and floaters, especially people who experience auras with their migraine, could it be that over time the migraines with auras are slightly damaging or changing the visual cortex of the brain in a small way, but still changing it enough to affect the brain’s perception of entoptic objects such as the micro-floaters and make them more visible? How credible do you think this idea is?


    reply: It is as good as anything I could come up with. Why wouldn’t there be differing levels of sensitivity withing the hard and soft wiring of the brain across the population of people. I mean, there are some people who see sounds and smell colors. Why not. It could all be in the setting of a perfectly healthy eye and visual cortex.

    • James Stoltz says:

      Thanks again Dr.Johnson for your informative reply.

      Very recently, about 3 days ago, Dr. Scott Geller uploaded a video to his Vimeo account of a micro floater located in the pre-macular bursa.

      http://vimeo.com/46688586

      This video along with the pictures on your site are so far the only images of micro floaters that I have found online.

      One of the things that Dr. Geller says when he’s asked about micro-floaters in the young is that he believes they’re located in the specific space of the premacular bursa. Just like with micro-floaters, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about the premacular bursa available online. I know it is a very thin pocket of fluid which has the potential to form, but I would like to ask what causes premacular bursas to form in some peoples’ eyes but not others? Do you think it is correct that the micro floaters are located there and could it be that whatever is causing the premacular bursa to form is the same thing which causes the micro-floaters to form?

      As for the migraine theory explanation of the symptom constellation I suffer from, I have trouble accepting it as well, but this is what the neurologists suspect. They say it is not just a migraine, but a complication of migraine in which the aura symptoms become permanent. It has been shown that migraines can change the brain over time, or it could also be that during a migraine there’s a small and undetected stroke which results in permanent visual distortions. No one really knows though, that’s just one of their guesses.


      reply: I have seen and tracked similar microscopic densities like that seen in the video. They are very difficult to find and even harder to photograph or video. I am not convinced these are pre-macular bursa floaters as there should be some kind of vitreal cortex (out vitreous two-dimensional “sheet” anterior to that density. It’s all splitting hairs anyways. Pre-macular or not, they are less than 0.5mm from the retina. There’s no way that can be treated with the laser. As you’ll notice, it moves and shifts, but stays about the same distance away from the retina.It never move to a treatable position.

  170. John says:

    Hi, can medicine be possibly used in the future to treat floaters? I am want to become an ophthalmologist one day and offer people hope just like you.


    answer: The vitreous chamber is a pretty quiet and inactive space. It doesn’t have a blood supply and medicine doesn’t diffuse well into this space. Also the vitreal collagen is normal body substance that has always been in the eye so it is difficult to target the abnormal clumps from the normally distributed and optically clear collagen protein. The person or company that figures out this problem will make a lot of money, I think. – Dr. J

  171. al says:

    Hello!

    Great information on this topic – Thanks Dr J.

    I have had crystal worm floaters since I was about 10. My mother took me to an opthamologist on referral from the GP as it was pretty distressing at that age – I was seriously wondering if i was going / would go blind!

    Very interestingly this was the age I started having migraines ( so who knows if the person who posted below me is on to something…..(yeah i know….case series of 1!)

    Now at 35 the floaters are unchanged from my first noticing them. I am now a surgeon and I do not require any corrective lenses!

  172. James Stoltz says:

    I am preparing to write a paper for one of my college classes about this specific type of floater that affects young people. And I have a few more questions for you, Dr.Johnson.

    1. If you were to have to make a best guess, what would you say is the percentage of optometrists, general doctors, and even other ophthalmologists who do not realize that this distinct and untreatable type of floater exists in young people? Do you think the differences in young vs old floaters and the fact that floaters found in young people are untreatable is something that a lot of doctors are not aware of?

    answer: I think most doctors are aware these fine, or microscopically small floaters exist. I think they just don’t really take the time or use the specialty contact lenses needed to visually confirm them. The diagnosis of these floaters is for the most part, a diagnosis of exclusion. You really don’t need to see the floaters to confidently make the diagnosis. You just need to be confident that the retina is OK, and there is no other co-morbid condition that make be associated with the symptoms. Moving shadows in the vision is pretty simple. It is vitreous condensation until proven otherwise.

    2. You have said that no one really knows what causes the floaters in young people yet, in that regard do you think this can be considered a medical mystery? Do you have any theories of your own about what might be causing them?

    I don’t see it as a medical mystery. There is no guarantee that accompanies your birth certificate that there will be no degeneration, or aging effects until you reach your 40’s. There is already cholesterol plaque formation seen in the arteries of men in their 20’s. Hormones change, collagen stretches, hair is lost, fat is deposited. Stuff happens. These microscopic condensations of collagen protein, if they occurred anywhere else in the body, would be totally without symptoms. These microscopic condensation are only seen because they just happen to be near the retina. They may occur in association with some medications, mild trauma, electrolyte or other chemical imbalances, toxins, who knows. It may just be the third law of thermodynamics at play. I have not seen a recurrent theme of factors in the young patients that I talk to.

    3. I have noticed that the age of onset of these floaters and age of onset of migraines seem to coincide, average onset of migraine is around age 20, and onset of migraine declines after age 40. I have sometimes wondered, if maybe the floaters are red blood cells which leak out of the retinal vessels due to some type of ocular migraine attack, and then get trapped. Do you think there could be anything to this theory?

    No. The floaters in young people are not associated with RBC’s. Schizophrenia has an associated diagnosis in the early twenties…No I don’t think schizophrenia has anything to do with it either.

  173. Luke Pettis says:

    Dear Dr. Johnson,

    Do you know anybody in the area of New England that is as specialised as you in this area at all. Because I live at New Hampshire and I don’t know if I could ever make a trip over to California just to take care of this problem.


    answer: There is no one in New England with any significant experience treating eye floaters with a YAG laser – as far as I know. There are a couple of other doctors on the East Coast. You can find them on my web site here: Those of us performing this procedure all have different types and styles of practice. The treatment of floaters is not a commodity. You will have a different experience at each of the different doctor’s practices. My advice is to do your due diligence as much as possible beforehand, but don’t just choose one of us because we are geographically closer.

    The one in my eye tends to hover in the upper part of my eye and it tends to move more horizontally than vertically. What dose that mean? My Floater tends to hover around the upper-right corner of my eye, is that a good sign of it not being too close to my retina?


    answer: The patient’s perceive location is not very helpful in determining the potential treatability. They can be too close to the retina while seen in your central or peripheral vision.

  174. Reddy says:

    Hi Dr.Johnson
    I’m 26 and I first noticed my floaters when I was 9-10 years old but they were minute. I’m myopic and have been using glasses from 10 years. 3.5 years ago I had got corneal infiltrates because of contact lenses which I would use occasionally. On the advice of an Ophthalmologist, I’ve stopped using contact lenses and my infiltrates were treated successfully. But 6 months later I started developing new floaters. I visited plenty of specialists, they would check my retina and optic nerve and would say that everything is fine. Along with floaters I developed hypertension 3 years ago. Are hypertension and eye floaters related? Now, I’ve plenty of eye floaters and few of them are brown in color. These brown floaters are the most bothersome and large. Could you please let me know if any of your patients had brown floaters and have been treated successfully. Thanks.


    answer: some of your questions are difficult to answer without seeing the eye in person. Ophthalmology, like dermatology, is a very visually-oriented as far as the evaluation and diagnosis. It is further difficult when assessing floaters in younger people. No one actually sees their floaters, they see the
    shadows cast by their floaters. Shadows are brown or grey and so I am not sure how to assess your description of the floater’s brown color. “Brown color” floaters are not a category that helps me determine the “treatability” of your floaters. Systemic hypertension can cause some problems in the eye but these are vascular, not usually associated with floaters.
    Unless there is other information, I would still categorize you with any other young person with bothersome floaters. Statistically not likely treatable. There are exceptions, but there is no simple set of questions that I can ask you or your eye doctor to confidently evaluate your condition. – Dr. Johnson

  175. Ellie says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,

    I am 33 years old and first started noticing these annoying floaters since my early 20s. I started doing research and was concerned that it may be a retinal detachment. However, my optometrist said it was just “eye debris” and not to worry, my retina was fine but she did see the floaters and wasn’t all that concerned. I had perfect vision until I was 16 and even then it was 20/30 but I started wearing glasses. I notice those little crystal worms darting about as I move my eyes, mostly when I’m in sunlight or when I’m not wearing my eyeglasses. Interestingly, they seem to diminish when I do wear my eyeglasses. I have to wear sunglasses when I go outside or I’ll go nuts seeing them. It’s mostly those translucent, worm-like cellular things but there’s one that a tiny dark dot that occasionally shows up and some of the worms or shadows are a little darker. They seem to be more predominant when I am outside and looking far away. Is there anything that can be done? I bought some “eye health” supplements and I know that there’s probably nothing that can cure them. What usually causes these floaters? Also, another question…if left untreated, do they tend to get worse over time or better? Since I’m in my early 30s now, when I’m in my 60s or 70s do you think they will tend to get worse or get better?


    answer: As a member of Mensa, I would expect you to ask excellent questions like this. Unfortunately, I cannot definitively answer these questions. No one really knows what causes the floaters in younger patients. No one has followed the natural history over the long term to know if they stabilize or get better or worse. I wish I had more certainty and advice. I treat what I can, and have to walk away from what I can’t.

  176. Ivan says:

    Thanks for the information you have posted and I found it very helpful of finding my symptoms.

    I used to experience floaters when younger, can’t remember when I first noticed it maybe 15 or 16 but maybe just a few. Now I’m 24, still having short-sight since young and now it reads -4.75 on the left eye and -3.50 on the right. I have habits wearing contacts for 9 months now and didn’t find any unusual symptoms during that period. Until two or three weeks ago, I’ve spotted few strange symptoms with my eye.

    I found my right eye are unusually dry. It caused my right eyelid having scaly skin then I presume it’s the hair product that caused the problem so I stopped using it and the scaly skin does return to normal. However, my right eye often appears to be dry still and uncomfortable but my eyes are not red, cornea area sometimes having a mild pain as well so i got myself some dry-eye drops.One day during my sleep, I realised there is a green spot (not very bright but noticeable) when I closed my eyes when I rolled them left and right. That light seems to drift upon inertial movement of the eye. I can also hear some strange poping sound coming either from eyelids or eyes (which i can’t determine is from dryness friction, eye muscles fatigue or inside the eye) and these phenomenon have been driven me crazy. It was about that time I’ve seen more floaters, and in different shapes. I have consulted two optometrists earlier, about 10 days in between. I had a slit lamp test and a dilated eye test from them and they both saying my eyes are flat, fine and healthy. Of course I do see the floaters and now I believe it’s the small floaters that appear in the premacular bursa referring to your topic. I also noticed the green light thingy is less noticeable at this moment. It doesn’t seem like I have come across those bright flashes just yet. I work in the office daily. Facing the computer screen and the massive window with floaters drifting around just putting me off and causes a lot of panic.

    My question is, do you think any of my above incidents causing the floaters to suddenly appear? Among the younger patients that you came across do you have any statistics showing what causes it? any idea what causes the green light thingy? and do you think these small floaters will get any worse based on your experience?

    Thanks for your help.


    answer: ophthalmology and dermatology are both very visual diagnoses. I can’t mt make a diagnosis for you in this venue. Being younger, you are less likely to have laser-treatable floaters. In my experience, they are usually small, fine, and reside within 0-2 mm of the retina where it is unsafe to treat with the laser. There have been some notable exceptions, but not that many.

  177. Matt says:

    Have you successfully treated any floaters that cause a large blur when passing over light sources?


    answer: yes, but it depends more on the location of the floater rather than by the symptomatology. I have successfully treated floaters that blur the vision when the floaters is located more centrally in the eye. I have not been successful with floaters that blur the vision when they are located within 0-2 mm of the retina.

  178. eric boateng says:

    I am 26 years old and i have floaters in my eyes for about 4 months. I had iritis and i was using pred forte. When i was taken off the pred forte, i started to notice the floaters. i only see them when im outside on a bright day. it seems to be everywhere. What advice do you have for me.


    answer: iritis is an inflammatory condition. It is possible your floaters may be inflammatory cells (or clumps of inflammatory cells). It is possible that cold improve over time as the cell degenerate. There is no way to know for sure. It is important you keep your follow up appointments with your local eye care provider.

  179. Niko says:

    Hello Dr. Johnson,

    You have mentioned that “There are no supplements, vitamins, regimens, or detox programs that I believe will be helpful. If there were, I would be selling it on my web site and making money off it!” and that you “think it is all part of the entropy of life”. I just wanted to know what measures could I take to prevent further from occurring? Or if there aren’t any?

    P.S Thank you for this website and your insightful thoughts. I will try my best and heed your advice: “Floaters are seen through the filter of your personality”.


    answer: There are no studies that would suggest any specific recommendations to prevent worsening of your floaters. Very little is known about floaters in younger patients.

  180. James Stoltz says:

    Dr. Johnson,

    I am writing this to you because I believe finding out more about these floaters could help unravel a medical mystery. Recently a new disease entity has been identified by a group of neuro-researchers working under Dr. Christoph Schankin at UCSF. The symptom constellation consists of palinopsia, “visual snow”, tinnitus, increased visibility of Scheerer’s phenomenon (perhaps a result of the palinopsia) and also a huge increase in these types of floaters described here.

    Most intriguingly, the demographic for this disease matches the demographic that you report as having these floaters by themselves. It is more common in men (with a ratio of 2/3 men and 1/3 women) and the onset usually occurs when people are in their 20s.

    Some believe this condition is migraine related and usually patients get a diagnosis of “permanent migraine aura without infarction”, but Dr. Schankin believes it to be a separate disease entity. He and his colleagues recently made a presentation about this at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting.

    The following is a link to a sticky on a forum for people with the condition, in which they share their symptoms. If you read, you will see that almost all of them report floaters, and when the floaters are described, the description matches the type of floaters you are talking about on this page.

    http://thosewithvisualsnow.yuku.com/topic/390/Symptoms-we-all-have#.T71kI8Uoprw

    I am sure that Dr. Schankin would be interested to hear what you know of these floaters. Often to solve a medical mystery requires that specialists compare notes, I feel like all the pieces of the puzzle are here and they just need to be brought together. You can contact Dr. Schankin by telephone at 415-502-7290, or by email at christoph.schankin@ucsf.edu

  181. Silas says:

    Ok, So im a 22 year old relatively healthy fella. Never had any serious disease or anything. A little over a year ago i experienced an Ocular Migraine. Literally, a blinding headache. Scared me to death i thought i was dying, the visual hallucination of color and random shape followed by an empty spot in your field of vision is plenty enough for getting a CAT scan. However all showed up clear no problems in visual cortex. Every day there after i have experienced the dreaded FLOATERS!!! Im tired of not being able to enjoy a bright summer day. A sunrise on the seaside etc.. Constantly wearing mirror sunglasses just to ease the busy strands of wispy or wormy blobs in my sight! Some dark Some bright. I even see them at night given there is a bright enough light source but they show up as blurred areas of my vision instead. Why is this happening at my young age. Ive tried chinese diets, everything I’ve tried it all. I have perfect vision other than these annoying things. Please is there a way to break these up any way at all..?! They use an ultra sonic wave gun to break up kidney stones.. why not these!? I miss my un abstracted vision. HELP!



    answer: Sorry to hear about your floaters. The ocular migraine (OM) can be scary to the uninitiated, but they are usually self-limiting and the typical ocular migraine is without pain. The OM is a vascular phenomenon and I can put together a coherent explanation as to OM could be related to floaters. Odd. The energy I use is much more concentrated and precisely focused than could be obtained using ultrasound, but the idea is somewhat similar.

  182. Franky says:

    hi, i’ve got some questions:

    1. Is FOV the only way to treat these “young floater”?
    2. For a normal eye, how many years it takes for vitreous gets liquefied?
    3. Will it be much more danger if i take FOV but with my vitreous still “solid”?

    thanks


    answers: 1. I can treat a small percentage of younger patients. If not treatable with the laser, then the vitrectomy may be the only real option.
    2. about 25% of 60 year-olds with have experienced a posterior vitreous detachment which the major shift of contents away from the retina. 3. More dangerous as the vitreous is more likely to pull and tug on the retina at the time of the vitrectomy possibly increasing risk of retina detachment or tear. – Dr. Johnson

  183. tony n says:

    Hello Dr Johnson
    i am 56 have had three corneal transplants two in left, and one in the right. Recently had YAG laser on both eyes 1 year post op from cataract lens implants. The right eye now has a vitreous detachment that appeared right after treatment with the yag laser. It seems quite large affecting almost the entire vision field and will change with eye movement from being noticeable or not. The vision goes from very sharp to a out of focus with a white shadow.


    answer: It sound like a lot of stuff in there. I have treated some massive and diffuse and cloudy floaters, but they usually require more treatment over more time. The surgical vitrectomy may sometimes be a one-treatment solution, but the vitrectomy is sometimes a theoretical option, not a very available or practical option. Your sounds like one of those situations where you just have to get in there in person to see how bad or comprehensive the problem is and take the conversation from there. -Dr. Johnson

  184. Connor says:

    Hello,

    Since I was young I rarely noticed “squiggly lines” floating in my eyes. I noticed these floating objects usually when looking in bright areas. I am 21 years old now and they have dramatically been more noticeable. They look like transparent squiggly worms. I did not start noticing them until I recently became employed as a welder. When welding I am constantly wearing a shaded lens because the ultraviolet light produced when welding is so bright. I really think this welding from bright light has irritated these floaters and caused them to be more visible. I went to see a eye doctor and she told me “they have treatments for these floaters, but she wouldn’t recommend them” and that “I would just have to live with it”. I just found your website and would really like to here your feedback. I think its so cool how you actually help people with their floaters when everyone is telling people “you’ll just have to live with it”. Floaters are so annoying and I was almost in tears when hearing my doctors response. I have found that wearing sunglasses helps camouflage my floaters. Thanks.


    answer: Welders can get corneal epithelial inflammation and irritation or worse, a rare retinal burn. The bright light or UV light “should” pass through the vitreous without consequence, but I’m not sure if the incidence of floaters in welders has been studied before. Anything is possible. -Dr. Johnson

  185. James says:

    I thank you for this webpage, I’ve had floaters since I was about 18. I’m 32 now and all my floaters are the “crystal worm” type. In fact I can clearly make out distinct cell structure to them it seems. They have well defined edges and some are just tiny little cell looking structures floating around. I have several of them and for awhile thought I grew used to them. Now they are starting to bother me again and I did have a full eye exam from my ophthalmologist who said everything looked healthy and did not see anything. This webpage answered some of the questions he unfortunately could not.

    I guess my one question is do you feel over time these type of close to the retina floaters can change their location, sink, reabsorb, etc… Or are we basically just hoping our brain will adjust to their existence.


    answer: These floaters can change location, but there is no way to predict a timeline that they do so. They do not have enough mass to overcome the elastic fiber that usually hold them in place. Interesting to me is that many of these floaters in younger patients often appear to “sink” to the floater sufferer, but actually rise to the superior part of the vitreous chamber – the roof of the eye, if you will. Some of these floaters would optically disappear if they would just move a few millimeters away from the retina. That may happen, but there is no way to predict IF, or WHEN that might occur. Occasionally I have to look at my doctor phrasebook and say “You will just have to learn to live with it”. I hate having to do so, but it is what it is. – Dr. Johnson

  186. Matt Bullard says:

    I am 23 years old and I had PRK laser surgery a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, just as my eyes appeared to be the most improved (probably 20/15), I began noticing floaters in my vision. I had never seen or heard of these “floaters” before, so it just doesn’t make sense when the doctor who did my follow up exams and a retinal specialist I saw last week both tell me they were probably there before and are nothing to worry about. The retinal specialist dilated my eyes and also used a Goldman lens to examine my eye. Furthermore, he also said that I had no signs of PVD or retinal tear. Is this the method that you use to locate floaters?

    He said he saw 10-12 floaters and a cluster in my right eye that is most bothersome to me. Whenever I look at a light at night (including a television), there are large blurs that move around and briefly obstruct my vision. When I look at the sky, I see a multitude of the stringy, worm like floaters that are very dark and defined. From your other comments, this leads me to believe that my floaters are very, very close to my retina. Would you agree on this?

    Another question I have pertains to physical exercise and if it may make these floaters worse? I played basketball for a couple of hours the other day and now I feel like I have more floaters and the ones I have also are more prominent. Do you know of any correlation between strenuous activities and floaters?
    From your comments, I am pretty sure that I am not a candidate for YAG, but as my Vitreous liquefies, will these floaters possibly become treatable someday in the future?
    Also, what percentage of your patients would you say have floaters that result from laser eye surgery?
    I truly appreciate the advice you have posted on this site and the fact that you care about what others in your profession seem to neglect and misunderstand.
    P.S. These floaters disappeared completely both times my eyes were dilated. Should this be a reason for me to have hope that they may not be close to my retina?


    answer: Matt, your description is not typical of younger patients. Usually the floaters are very difficult or impossible to see. Occasionally, I’ll come across a younger patient with treatable floaters. It is also possible that your doctor saw “something”, but that something may not be the floaters that are actually bothering you. I’ve seen that situation a number of times. About your question as to the number or percentage of patients that relate their floaters to a previous refractive surgery procedure, I have only had a couple and of course it can’t be proven, just suspicious because of the temporal association. If the floaters disappear, then they may be a few millimeters further away Enough to treat? Hard to say.

    • Matt says:

      Thank you for your response.

      Were you able to treat the patients who experienced floaters after refractive surgery?
      Dr. J: Yes, I’ve had many patients who have had LASIK, less with PRK or RK. Many also with lens implants after cataract surgery (technically, a form of refractive surgery).

      Since my floaters seem to appear as a large blur as they pass over light, would this indicate they are closer to the retina or possibly in the premacular bursa (PMB)?
      Dr. J: I have de-emphasized the presence of the premacular bursa over the last couple of years. I think it was a way to explain off floaters we couldn’t see. The range of motion of many of these PMB suspects is too great to be explained by something trapped in that smaller potential space. I think most of the floaters in younger people are just very small and difficult to see. Many of them with dimensions much smaller than a millimeter.

      I know it hasn’t been long since I had PRK, but if these floaters don’t improve over the next few months and there is even a slight chance that they are treatable, I will make the trip from Texas.

  187. Theo says:

    Hello, I am 15 and have had 1-2 floaters in my right eye for quite some time but i can’t remember when they started but i started my research on them today because i seem to be the only person i know that is effected by them. There are a few barely visible transparent circular ones and a more visible black dot with a strand like thing attached. From reading the articles above i understand that mine are most likely not treatable treatable because they could lie close to the retina. But my questions to you are what may have caused them and why are they only in my right eye?


    answer: Theo, The short answer is that no one really knows. The collagen protein that is present in the vitreoua is normally a bit sticky and attracted to itself. If something disrupts the delicate balance chemical and electrostatic balance of the collagen and hyaluronic acid, small bit will clump up. This may happen closer to the retina where the blood vessels are located. Maybe a better question to ask is how can the vitreous be perfectly clear in the first place and remain clear for most people through their adult lives?

  188. Magno Martins Carolino de Oliveira says:

    Dr Johnson
    I call Magno Carolino M, 17 years since I have floaters, the doctor said the cause was emotional stress is this possible? What treatment do you recommend me? Remembering that I am not myopic or astigmatic, did blood tests to see if the cause of floaters toxoplasmosis or diabetes were Thank God showed no positive result, I am 23 years old! Any help from you is welcome!


    answer: Magno, It is very rare for floaters to be caused by toxoplasmosis, and it would be very rare to have diabetic eye disease (such as hemorrhage causing floaters) without any of the other symptoms associated with diabetes. More likely you have some sporadic and small condensations that I see in younger patients. They are not usually treatable with the laser as they often sit too close to the retina to safely treat. These are frustrating for the floater-sufferer as there really aren’t any practical options. There are rare exceptions and I have treated some younger patients, but they are exceptions.

  189. Ryan M. says:

    Hello Dr. Johnson,

    Thank you very much for this fantastic website. I am a 23 year old medical student, and recently while studying for the boards, my eyes felt very tired and I decided to rub them. Within a few minutes, I started noticing a prominent floater in my right eye. I had always had a small floater in my right eye but it had never been very prominent or bothersome. However, now, the floater seems much bigger and very clearly defined: it is a perfect circle, and dark gray in color (I have other floaters in both eyes of the “crystal worms” shape, but they are not bothersome). When looking straight forward, it is slightly off to the right, but with any eye movement, the floater also moves quite significantly. Additionally, when I focus on nearby objects such as text, the floater appears smaller, while when looking at farther objects, it appears larger. I find it highly distracting, because I’m actually taking my Step 1 Board exam in two weeks. Are such well defined floaters similar to the typical sort encountered in young patients (close to the retina and usually indiscernible), or does the clarity of the shape and prominence lend to its possible treatment with the YAG laser? And lastly, can rapid eye movement dislodge the floater and perhaps allow it to settle out of sight? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. I saw an ophthalmologist recently who told me that my eyes were healthy, but that he could see a subtle floater. Thank you very much!


    answer: Ryan, It is very difficult to determine the location of floaters based on either the patient’s description, or their eye doctor’s evaluation for that matter. In general, and with few exceptions, floaters in younger patients tend to sit close to the retina where it is not safe to treat. There are some nuances.. such as when these patients describe that their floaters are less distinct in dim light (when the pupil is dilated somewhat) but this may mean that the floater is 1-2mm from the retina instead of 0.5-1mm. Either way, still to close to treat. There are a few exceptions once in a while, but in general I think it best to be somewhat guarded and set lower expectations for these prospective patients, especially because of the distances and expenses they would incur just travelling to my office. I won’t turn anyone away who desires or needs an evaluation, I’m just trying to set realistic expectations for these floater sufferers.

  190. Mark says:

    Do you think that floaters will be treatable for everybody someday in the future?
    I only ask this in order to have hope.



    answer: I hope so. I will take a change in the overall attitude among ophthalmologists and then a trickle down to device manufacturers and/or pharmaceutical companies. They need to realize that, although technically benign, floaters cause great grief and angst in people of all ages.

  191. Jordan says:

    I forgot to ask before.

    Why is it that when I squint I can see my floaters more clearly. But when my eyes are wide open, they become less visible?

    And also, you implied that you rarely see the eye floaters found close to the retina in patients above the age of 45. Theres nothing wrong with giving me and other patients like me a little bit of hope. However, I am of course skeptical that time alone can be the cure? It would seem that a miracle cure would be a more likely solution.

    Jordan



    Jordan, what you describe is a well known property of optics. Narrowing your eyelids creates a narrow aperture, much like when I ask my patients to look through a pinhole aperture (1.2mm). The narrowed source of light entering the eye casts longer shadows and so the marginally seen floaters will become more distinct. The opposite occurs when the pupil is dilated (normally in dim light or when I administer dilating eye drops). You can read about it at the bottom of this page:
    Cheers, Dr. J

  192. Jordan says:

    Dear Dr Johnson,

    I visited you two years ago when I was 20. Since then my floaters have gotten worse. I have several questions.
    Firstly, cells in the human body die and get replaced all the time, so why is it that these floaters can stay intact for decades? Are they resistant to decay?
    answer: The material that makes up the floater material is collagen, an inert, non-cellular, structural protein that is actually pretty stable. Unlike vascularized tissues, the vitreous humor space is pretty quiet and not part of exposed to the immune system and specialized blood and tissue cells that are designed to clean up dead tissue.

    Secondly, I actually have a fraternal twin brother. We have been brought up in the same way and have several similar medical conditions. So why is it that he can have perfect eye sight, and I have so many floaters?
    answer: there is no way to answer that question. Eyes with floaters are usually healthy eyes. These benign floaters in younger people are not part of a medical problem, or genetic influence, or anything else that has been discovered.I think it is all part of the entropy of life.

    Thirdly, given the minute nature of floaters inside an otherwise very healthy eye. And the fact that the brain is meant to phase out these interferences. Can I pose that perhaps the brain’s of individuals that see floaters aren’t sufficiently wired to ignore these interferences. Thus, could it be more useful to pursue some sort of meditation or mind focusing route to eliminating seeing them.
    answer: I don’t think the brain is designed to phase out these disturbances. I think the brain is highly aware of unexpected movement in your vision. I think it is a basic “lizard brain” function and likely part of a survival instinct to be aware of potential threats in the environment. Some people are more able to accept floaters and others, because of their personality type, will have a much more difficult time with them. I have said that floaters are seen through the filter of your personality.

    Fourthly, I have tried my best to pursue a healthy lifestyle. I go out for a run every night. I drink plenty of water everyday. And i eat a lot of carrots. I don’t expect that the floaters will go away. But I hope that at the very least, that they won’t get any worse.

    Finally, thank you for seeing me the other time. I appreciate your honesty and desire to help people like me.
    Good Luck, Dr. Johnson

  193. Junior says:

    Hi doctor, Im 17 years old, and recently i noticed the appearing of a little dark blot in my field of vision, after searching on the internet I realize that it’s a floater. I would like to know what do you recommend me to do, I’m getting really stressed with this little “friend” following my sight directions. Sorry if I made some English mistakes, I’m from Brazil. Thank You Doctor.



    Junior, I am sorry to hear about your new floaters. As you can tell from my website page and my responses to some of the younger patients, I’m not very enthusiastic when trying to treat younger patients. It is just a small percent of them that may be treated. Almost always their problem, and perhaps yours, are these very small, microscopic (1/10th to 1/20th of a millimeter) floaters that sit very close to the retina. The laser is just not the right tool for these floaters. In fact, the right tool has not been invented yet. There are no supplements, vitamins, regimens, or detox programs that I believe will be helpful. If there were, I would be selling it on my web site and making money off it! I don’t have any specific recommendations for you, unfortunately. Regards, Dr. Johnson

  194. Chris says:

    Dr. Johnson – This is a great blog, with a lot of good information. I think there are many people out there who suffer from eye floaters, so it’s great to see professionals taking an interest.

    I am 28 and have had foaters for about 3.5 years. I have many floaters (worm-like), but only 2 floaters bother me and they are very large and dark (brown/sandy color). The worst one is somewhat defined to me, but the edges are still sort of vague. They also almost completely dissapear when my eyes are dilated. My question is about the mobility of the typical “young people floaters”. Does there seem to be a consistency in how mobile the untreatable floaters are? When I say mobile, I mean how far up and down, and left and right these will travel? Would you say they typically move only a little within central vision, or can they swing far up or far down before settling in the central vision? Just curious, as I am in the process of evaluating my options here.

    Thanks Dr. Johnson!


    Because the floaters in young people are closer to the retina, they may be perceived as moving further and faster than floaters in the middle portion of the eye. I’ve tried to illustrate how the inertia and elasticity of the formed vitreous in young people behaves in this illustrationmovement of floaters. Thirty or forty degrees of movement across your visual field wouldn’t be unusual even though the floater may only be moving a few millimeters. You could also get that amount of movement in an older eye if the vitreous were more liquefied.

  195. Susan says:

    My son is 11 years old. About half years ago, one of his eyes got a hit by a badminton racket. in last 2 months, he said he can see more and more apparent worms with different shapes. We have see 2 eye doctors, they said they can’t see anything, but they said it is maybe the floater inside his eye. When I read your website, I can confirm they are the Floaters. But what should we do now?


    Response: Moving shadows are caused by irregularities in the vitreous space. There is nothing in the tear film, cornea, lens, retina or all of the visual cortex of the brain that can cause the same phenomenon. The “crystal worm”, semi-translucent, well-defined shapes that your son sees are likely located very close to the retina. Typically less than 1 mm. They are very difficult to see using typical examination techniques which are really better suited for examining other parts of the eye. This type of vitreous condensation located close to the retina is not usually treatable with the YAG laser as I use it. It cannon be safely adapted to this use. The surgical vitrectomy involves first chemically inducing a vitreous detachment via injection into the eye, then going into the eye surgically and draining all the vitreous fluid and replacing it with a saline substitute. Along with that procedure, there is a relatively high incidence of cataract formation. No retina specialist is going to offer or perform that procedure for floaters they can’t even see. So to answer your question, “What should we do now?”, there is really nothing other that reassurance. I would not recommend any treatment at this time. There is no supplement I would suggest, either. If there was something out there that worked, I would be selling it from my website. Sorry, I don’t have more to offer. Dr. Johnson

  196. Jennifer says:

    Hi,

    I am a 28 year old female. I have had some floaters since I can remember but during my first pregnancy 4 years ago they became much much worse and have been bad ever since. They are crystal and dark. I also see what seems like millions of white dots swimming really fast in many directions. Are those White blood cells? Will the floaters I see now become more treatable when I am older? or is it only the floaters I develop when I am older that will be treatable?

    Thank you.


    Response: Jennifer, I can not say whether your floaters are treatable by the laser now or in the future. The “millions of white dots” swimming about may actually be white cells moving through the retinal blood vessels. These can sometimes be seen by most people by looking into an intense blue light or a towards a bright light with the eyelids closed. – Dr. Johnson

  197. Anders Holt says:

    Hi. Thank you very much for writing this article, it really helped me understand my floater problem. I’m a 21 year old male, and started seeing floaters at the age of 12. Over the years they have gotten slightly worse, with a couple of new floaters each year or so. The majority of the floaters I see are these very defined lines and dots in the center of the vision, like you describe in the article. However, in the last couple of years I have developed two new floaters that are not completely like the other ones. They are not in the center of the vision, instead one of them is at the very bottom while the other one is at the very top. Even though I don’t see these as often as the center-ones, they are actually the most frustrating, because I really can’t see what it is. All I know is that I have some diffuse dark spots floating in areas of my vision that I cannot focus on. Sometimes I think a bird flies over my head, when it’s in fact just my floater getting visible at the top of my vision (when I look up it has of course drifted away again).

    My question to you is: Do you think these floaters might be the different kind of floaters that are not too close to the retina? I’m not considering an operation right now, but it would be nice to know if there is just a slight chance in the future..

    Thanks in advance!


    Response: There is no description of floaters symptoms or set of screening questions I can ask that will tell me how many millimeters these floaters sit from the retina. It is a very visual diagnosis that can only truly be done in person. Frustrating for both of us. -Dr. Johnson

  198. Zach says:

    Hi there. I first noticed my floaters about 2.5 years ago (around age 14). I’m 16 now and a junior in high school. I can’t really gauge how bad my floaters are because I don’t really have any basis of comparison. There are a good amount, and i have them in both eyes. I can’t really tell if they are the “Crystal Worms” that you were talking about in the above article, but in comparison with the picture in the sample response you posted, the “floaters” that I experience are more defined, and are much darker in some areas. They are also not only lines, but dots and little clouds as well, so I don’t think that they are the same. I was just wondering if treatment could possibly be available to me in a few years or so? If not it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal because I’ve sort of learned to live with them, and they don’t terribly interfere with everyday life, but it would still be great to get rid of them! Thanks for the help! [I have had multiple eye exams since floaters appeared, and my eyes/retinas have been healthy]


    Response: Zach, thanks for your contribution and background information. Of the younger than 30 years age grouping, it is a relatively small percentage that can be treated. At your young and tender age, I presume it is even less. When you can see fine detail within the floater itself, it almost has to be sliding along and adjacent to the retina. – Dr. Johnson

  199. Kellie Moore says:

    I have a 12yr old that has been telling us about the thing floating in his eye. He describes it as clear and with joints that float around. Who should we see about this if you’re saying that a regular doctor won’t be able to see. His last full eye exam was in August 2010. Thank you!


    Response: As I have tried to describe, the floaters in younger patients are very difficult to see even when highly motivated. I don’t have magic skills, I just usually spend a lot more time trying to find them. I try because I am supposed to be the expert?! Furthermore, even if I had determined that the patient is not a candidate for laser treatment, they deserve my best effort to at least determine what their real problem is. Quite often they feel like their own local Doctor has not really given them the time or a real understanding of what the problem is. Does you son see floaters that look something like this?:
    Crystal worm-like eye floaters
    These are what we call “crystal worm”-like floaters. They are transparent or translucent and there is detail within their structure. These are likely within 1mm or so of the retina and would not be a candidate for treatment for safety reasons. In addition, just based your son’s age, I would not want to treat. All this opinion and recommendation should be in light of the fact that I have not examined his eye, but I feel compelled to set realistic expectations for all patients, but especially the younger patients, where over time, I have become more pessimistic as to the potential for successful and safe treatment with the laser. – Dr. Johnson

    • jack says:

      im 16 and i see a variety of floaters when i look at the sky. il see couple black ones, worm ones and like circular see through ones. is this a bad sign?

      • vitreousfloaters says:

        You are asking me to diagnose and prognosticate for a particular situation and condition without affording me the opportunity of examining the eye. Unfair, I say! Your question could be answered both “yes” and “no”. If it is really bothering you and distracting AND if nothing can be done about it, then yeah, it’s kind of a bad sign. If you are worried that is is a rare retina-eating tropical parasite that will render you blind and later find that it is just a microscopically small condensation of some of the collagen protein in the eye casting a shadow onto your retina, then it would not be a bad sign at all. It fact it would be quite a relief. If I were a betting man, I’d suggest it was the latter scenario which is more typical of young moving-shadow sufferers. – Dr. J

        • jack says:

          thanks. I visited an eye doctor and she dialated my eye and said its fine. So are you saying they are natural? whats the cause of 8 to 10 floaters of all variety in my eye? and are “worm” like floaters bad? i do not have blind spots in my vision and i do not see flashes.

          • vitreousfloaters says:

            Jack, I have to say your questions are a bit disorganized. Your eye may indeed be “fine”. What constitutes “fine”? It it means that you have a healthy retina and do not have a progressive degenerative or blinding disorder, well then that is pretty “fine” to know. Vitreous condensations (seen as “floaters”) in younger people may be a variation of normal, or at least common, and are usually seen in otherwise very healthy eyes. What is the cause? How about entropy? The vast majority of instances that I am aware of, I can not find a cause. Stuff happens, collagen clumps up. If it happened anywhere else in the body, it would be totally without symptoms. Unfortunately, these happen to occur very close to the retina making them very difficult to find on eye examination and don’t seem to impress the doctors doing the exam. Most floaters do not cause blind spots and flashes of light are more associated with the age-related changes of the posterior vitreous detachment.

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