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Floaters in the eye are described by patients as small dark or gray spots floating in the vision. Sometimes they may look more like tiny cobwebs, transparent strings or squiggly lines that move as your eyes move, and tend to drift in and out of the vision. They also tend to quickly dart out of your vision when you try to look at them. Patients that just have a few small floaters learn to ignore them. They become more noticeable when looking at a light colored area like a wall or white piece of paper.
As we age, the vitreous gel that is inside the eye can shrink and become more liquid. Microscopic fibers clump up and cast shadows on the retina. These shadows are called floaters.
If you have a significant increase in floaters, flashes of light or loss of any peripheral vision you should see your eye doctor immediately. These could be symptoms of a retinal tear or detachment that requires prompt attention.
In most cases floaters do not require treatment. If they become very dense that they are significantly affecting your vision, the vitreous gel can be removed and replaced with a salt solution. Patients do not notice any difference in the salt solution and vitreous gel. This is a procedure that doctors are reluctant to do because there are significant risks including cataracts, retinal tears and retinal detachment.