Eye floaters

Medical content revised by - Last revision 18/10/2016
Eye floaters

Eye floaters, also known as myodesopsias or muscae volitantes (in Latin, flying flies) are an ocular trouble consisting in the emergence in the visual field of black or white-coloured dots, spots, threads or cobwebs of different shapes, that move with eye movements.

They appear most frequently when staring at very light surfaces or areas, such as white paper sheets or the sky, and they are a common reason for consultation with the ophthalmologist.

What causes eye floaters?

Floaters appear as a consequence of the emergence of opacities created within the jelly-like fluid that fills the eye, the vitreous humour, as this substance experiences natural changes over the time. Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to regroup and cast their shadow on the retina whenever the light passes through.

Age, myopia, eye contusions, cataract surgery, capsulotomies (cleaning of the posterior capsule by means of a laser), and vitreous detachment are some of the main risk factors for the onset of floaters.

In general terms, the onset of myodesopsia tends to be a normal circumstance that a significant proportion of population suffers at any point in their lives, especially in advanced ages or stress moments. This trouble is usually harmless. However, when the onset is sudden, and especially when floaters are associated with flashes of light (photopsias), or they stay motionless or considerably increase in volume, it is important to go the ophthalmologist.

During the consultation, the specialist will examine the patient’s ocular fundus in order to rule out any serious diseases or injuries, as the onset of floaters may also be part of other more serious ocular troubles, such as retinal tears, uveitis, hemorrhages or eye tumors.

Is there a treatment?

Although floaters can be very annoying, they do not have more serious implications for eye health and they are usually not treated, provided that they are harmless and that they do not largely jeopardise the patient’s vision. If floaters substantially limit vision, two treatments may be performed:

laser vitreolisis, by means of YAG surgical laser, which fragments opacities in order to avoid them altering the patient’s vision; or
vitrectomy, a surgery used in those cases where floaters involve visual impairment consisting in the replacement of humour vitreous by a saline solution.

Nonetheless, both procedures carry risks, reason why they are only performed in very exceptional cases.

In case floaters hide a more serious ocular trouble, its cause will have to be treated.


Post your comment

In accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (REGULATION (EU) 2016/679), the following information about the processing of personal data is disclosed to you.

Responsible: Institut Català de la Retina, S.L., Institut Català de Cirurgia refractiva, S.L. (from now on ICR)

Representative of Data Protection Contact: C/Pau Alcover nº 67 08017 Barcelona – rgpd@icrcat.com

Aim: The purpose of the treatment is to manage the information you provide us and after having your consent, publish the testimonial on our website.

Legitimization: The legal basis for the present treatment is the request made by you and having your consent.

Recipients: The recipients of the information are the departments and delegations in which ICR is organized, in part or in its entirety. It will not be communicated to third parties.

Rights: At any time, you can exercise your rights of access, rectification, deletion, opposition, limitation of treatment and / or portability of data by writing to the RPD Representative of Data Protection at the address provided in contact. You can also revoke consents to other treatments. You can also request more information from the RPD about the treatments performed.
In the event that you consider that your rights have been violated, you can submit a claim to the competent Data Protection Control Authority.

For all purposes, the user accepts that the opinion expressed will be exclusively his /her responsibility. The user assumes under his / her exclusive responsibility the damages or harms that may derive from it.
ICR will not be responsible for the accuracy, quality, reliability, correctness, morality and legality of the data, information or opinions published by users.
ICR reserves the right not to publish all opinions of users.
The user is solely responsible of his /her username. ICR will not be responsible for the illegal use or for illicit purposes that other users can make of this user name.

Preservation: The collected data will be kept during the time required for the requested management, for at most 30 days.

ICR Ganduxer Headquarters

08022 Barcelona

ICR Pau Alcover

C. Pau Alcover 67
08017 Barcelona

ICR Terrassa

C. del Nord, 77
08221 Terrassa

Clínica Bonanova Surgical Center

Passeig Bonanova, 22
08022 Barcelona

Clinica Bonanova Tests and Treatments

c/ Mandri, 63
08022 Barcelona

ICR Service at Clínica Ntra. Sra. del Remei

c/ de l'Escorial,148
08024 Barcelona
This website uses cookies in order to collect statistical information regarding navigation. If you keep on surfing this website, it shall be deemed to have acknowledged its use. More information.