May Newsletter: All about Floaters

Woman smiles at the ocean. The ocean smiles back.

All About Floaters

Are you worried about those wispy cobwebs and strings that drift through your vision? These drifting shapes are called floaters, and are usually related to normal age-related changes deep inside your eye.

How Floaters Form

Floaters form due to changes in the vitreous humor, the clear, gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain its round shape. The vitreous humor fills the space between the light-sensing retina at the back of the eye and the clear lens located behind your iris and pupil.

Fibers inside the gel clump together as the vitreous humor shrinks with age. These fibers create shadows that seem to float in front off your eyes as they drift throughout the vitreous humor. Floaters are most obvious when you're looking toward the sky or a light.

Floaters take on a variety of shapes, in addition to cobwebs and strings. They may also look like lines, dots, rings, dark specks, or circles. It's only natural to feel a little worried the first time you see a floater. Although floaters can be a little annoying, they don't cause any serious vision problems in most cases.

Have you noticed flashes of light in addition to floaters? If the vitreous humor bumps against the retina or pulls on it, you may see quick bursts of light. You may also notice flashes when a small section of the vitreous humor detaches from the back of the eye. Although small detachments aren't a problem, retinal detachment or retinal tears can occur if a larger section of the vitreous humor detaches.

A few floaters or occasional flashes are common and perfectly normal. More than 75% of smartphone users reported seeing floaters, according to survey results published in the International Journal of Ophthalmology.

Floater Risk Factors

Several factors increase your risk of developing floaters, including:

  • Age. Most people notice floaters in their 40s or 50s, but can form earlier in life as well.
  • Being Nearsighted. Nearsightedness is caused by an elongated eye shape. This oblate shape of the eye may put pressure on the vitreous humor, which can lead to floaters.
  • Diabetes. People who have diabetes and develop diabetic retinopathy are more likely to develop floaters. Diabetic retinopathy causes vision changes when blood vessels inside the retina leak.
  • Other Factors. Your floater risk may be higher if you had cataract surgery complications, injured your eye, or the inside of your eye became infected or inflamed.

When to Worry About Your Floaters

Although floaters are usually harmless, they can be a sign of a retinal detachment or tear, serious eye conditions that can cause permanent loss of vision. Retinal detachment happens when the retina peels away from the back of the eye, while tears happen when the vitreous pulls on the retina, creating a rip in the retina. Both detachments and tears interrupt the flow of information from the eye to the brain, causing vision loss.

Retinal detachments may be partial or complete. If your retina detaches or tears, you may notice a sudden increase in floaters and flashes, loss of peripheral (side) vision), or a dark area in your vision.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call your eye doctor or go to the emergency room immediately. The sooner the retinal detachment is treated, the more likely your vision will be restored.

Treating Floaters

Floaters don't need to be treated unless they interfere with your vision. If this happens, your eye doctor may recommend laser treatment to break up floaters, or a procedure called a vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy, the vitreous humor is removed and replaced with a gas bubble or saline solution.

Don't wait to call the eye doctor if you notice any changes in your vision, including floaters and flashes. Contact our office to schedule your appointment.


NCBI: International Journal of Ophthalmology: Prevalence of Vitreous Floaters in a Community Sample of Smartphone Users, 6/18/2013

National Eye Institute: Floaters, 9/22/2020

American Academy of Ophthalmology: What Are Floaters and Flashes, 11/29/2022

American Optometric Association: Floaters & Spots

All About Vision: What Causes Eye Floaters and How to Treat Them, 3/4/2019

Office Hours


9:00 am-5:00 PM


9:00 am-7:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 PM


9:00 am-7:00 pm


9:00 am-5:00 PM





  • "My whole experience was great. The entire staff was beyond friendly, helpful, and professional. Not to mention, the building itself was clean, spacious, and well kept. I recently switched to Herman Eye Center last year and I'm SO glad I did. Everyone just seemed so happy and cheerful!"
    Courtney, Scott Depot
  • "Dr. Herman was very knowledgeable and professional; the very best (excellent) in explaining his findings and corrective procedure. His office staff were very personable and helpful. Wish I had found them many, many years ago,, but I'm in excellent hands now and feel very comfortable about my future there."
    Jacqueline, Hurricane
  • "hello, i was a new patient , and i really enjoyed the family feeling you get when you are there. my doctor and staff are awesome, and they want to help you in any way they can.
    i would tell everyone i can how wonderful the company is. THANK YOU"
    Shawna, Winfield
  • "Great experience! I have been going to Dr. Herman for 7 years now. He is a great doctor. He is very friendly and takes the time to get to know his patents."
    Megan, Hamlin
  • "I am always impressed when they welcome me by name as I walk in the door, treat me like I am the only person in the room, move me swiftly from test to test and then am greeted with a smile and professional handshake by Dr. Travis. I walk away knowing that I have received an excellent exam and confident with the prescription. I have referred several people to Herman because they are the best I have ever experienced in the industry and I like to pass good news along to my friends."
    Brenda, Scott Depot
  • "Best optometrist in the valley. The staff are exceptional. I highly recommend and give them five stars"
    Timothy, Hurricane
  • "The staff is always very professional & pleasant. Dr. Herman has been very helpful throughout my years of being his patient. I would not consider seeing anyone else for my vision care. Every visit is a pleasure"
  • "Staff is always courteous and helpful"
    Peyton, Webster Springs
  • "Everyone was so friendly and knowledgeable. Dr. Herman was great! He actually took the time to talk and get to know me. A great first time experience at Herman Eye Center!"
    Angela, Hurricane
  • "I love the fact that dr herman took the time to talk to me and get to know me. That's how all doctor should be. Definitely will see him again"
    Jonathan, Scott Depot
  • "I just love Dr Travis and he is always professional with me and all my eye care needs."
    Sherry, from Leon