Here’s What These Intriguing Eye Floaters Actually Are


What are they?

Ever wondered what these are? Ever speculated if you were seeing floating germs? Ever thought you were the only one? Don’t worry they are completely normal, and actually happen to a lot of us. We usually notice them while staring into a bright background, and they can get a little trippy at times. Kids usually notice them at a young age. Most of us learn to ignore them, some of us learn to befriend them. Leading up to the question, what actually are they?

They are medically termed as muscae volitantes, which is Latin for flying flies, and are more commonly known as eye floaters. A significant chunk of the population experiences this, and it isn’t anything serious in most cases. They occur when opaque substances enter the jelly-like fluid called the vitreous humour. Most of these opaque entities are proteins like collagen, white blood cells and a few other substances.

A Medical Emergency?

Although they aren’t usually a cause for worry, some cases can have unseen health causes. Some floaters can be big enough to obstruct the eye’s sight. Experiencing a surge of floaters and flashes in the eye all of a sudden, accompanied by other uncomfortable symptoms can have an underlying cause. It would be wise to consult an eye doctor in such times. There are certain procedures that can be done in order to eliminate floaters completely.

eye structure
The vitreous humor which contains the free proteins that cause the floaters.

A vitrectomy is a non-invasive surgical procedure which involves the removal of the vitreous layer on the eye. The jelly-like layer is replaced with an alternative solution. After a while, the eye will replace the artificial solution naturally. Another method would be to employ laser therapy. This involves aiming lasers at the floaters and breaking them up. However, there is a room for error in this procedure, as improperly aimed lasers can cause injury to the retina (more on these procedures here).

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