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Oakville, ON / 905.847.3937

Floaters or spots

What are floaters and spots?

Floaters (often called floating spots) are small, semi-transparent cobwebs, specks or squiggles that appear in your field of vision. They are actually small particles within the gel inside the eye that become noticeable when they fall within the line of sight. They move when you move your eyes, but tend to drift or lag behind your eye movements. They may also appear along with flashes of light.

Does everyone have floaters?

Almost everyone sees a few floaters at one time or another. They can occur more frequently and become more noticeable as you grow older. If you notice a sudden change in the number or size of floaters, you should contact your Doctor of Optometry right away, so you can be sure they are not the result of a more serious problem, such as retinal detachment.

What causes floaters?

The inner part of your eye is made up of a clear, jelly-like fluid known as the vitreous. Occasionally, small flecks of protein and other matter become trapped in the vitreous during the formation of the eye before birth and remain in the vitreous body. New floaters are caused by the deterioration of the eye fluid or its surrounding structures as we age, or by certain injuries or eye diseases.

What do floaters look like?

Floaters are generally translucent specks of various shapes and sizes. They may also look like bugs, threadlike strands or cobwebs within the eye. Since they are within the eye, they move as the eye moves and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.

Can these floaters cause blindness?

Most floaters are normal and rarely cause problems. But new or a sudden increase in floaters can be indications of more serious problems, such as a retinal hole, tear or detachment, and if you see them you should have a comprehensive optometric examination to determine the cause.

How are floaters detected?

As part of a comprehensive eye examination, your Doctor of Optometry will thoroughly evaluate the vitreous and retina of your eyes. Your Doctor of Optometry may use eye drops to dilate your pupils to make them larger. He or she will then look inside your eye with instruments called a biomicroscope and an ophthalomoscope to examine the health of the inside of your eyes. Your Doctor of Optometry will observe the floaters within your eye, as well as ensure that a retina problem has not occurred.

Written by Dr Jeff Goodhew

Dr. Goodhew graduated from the University of Waterloo with his Optometry degree in 1993 and became therapeutically licensed in 2000. He enjoys being an active part of his profession, having served as the President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists from 2014 through 2016. Dr. Goodhew also served as the co-chair of the National Public Education Committee for the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

Dr. Goodhew enjoys seeing patients of all ages. He has a special interest in fitting advanced contact lens designs and has worked as a consultant for some of the world’s largest contact lens companies, including Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

Dr. Goodhew is also a partner in Socialpractice.ca; a social media consulting firm designed to help healthcare providers leverage the power of social media. Outside of work, he is passionate about running, cycling, snowboarding and spending time with his wife Dr. Tina Goodhew and their two teenage sons: Camden and Braedon.

More Articles by Dr Jeff Goodhew

Visit Us in Oakville for a
Complete Eye Care Experience

Abbey Eye Care looks forward to serving you and your family. Our office is located on the Southeast corner of Dundas and Third Line.

Abbey Eye Care

D15, 2501 Third Line
Oakville, ON, L6M 5A9

Contact Information

Phone: 905.847.3937
Fax: 1.866.356.2790
Email: [email protected]

Clinic Hours

Monday:9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday:9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday:9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday:9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday:9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday:9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday:Closed
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