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Floaters
Mark Pophal, M.D.

Dr. Pophal would like to remind you that without an exam many of your questions cannot be properly answered.

Your vision is important and should not be taken for granted, or taken lightly. It is wise to see an eye doctor right away if you have questions or problems with your eyes or vision.

Useful information can be found at the American Academy of Ophthalmology website


Q. What are Floaters?

A. You may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. They are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky.

Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear gel-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye.

Anatomy of the Eye

Anatomy of the eye - vitreous, floaters

Although the floaters appear to be in front of the eye, they are actually floating in the vitreous fluid inside the eye. What you see are the shadows they cast on the retina, the layer of cells lining the back of the eye that sense light and allows you to see.

Floaters can appear as different shapes such as little dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs.

Q. What causes Floaters?

A. When people reach middle age, the vitreous gel may start to thicken or shrink, forming clumps or strands inside the eye. The vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. It is a common cause of floaters.

Posterior vitreous detachment is more common in people who:

  • are nearsighted
  • have undergone cataract operations
  • have had YAG laser surgery on the eye
  • have had inflamation inside the eye
The appearance of floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. You should contact your opthalmologist (Eye MD) right away if you develop new floaters, especially if you are over 45 years of age.


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Dr. Mark Pophal
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