Floaters refer to a variety of visual abnormalities, often seen as little “cobwebs” or specks that appear to move or float about in your field of vision.

Floaters occur when the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills most of the eye slowly shrinks. As the vitreous shrinks strands or clumps may occur and can cast tiny shadows on the retina. In most cases, floaters are simply an annoyance. However, there are other, more serious causes of floaters, including infection, inflammation, hemorrhaging, retinal tear or detachment, and injury to the eye.


  • Floaters appear in your vision as small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines.
  • Floaters move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
  • Floaters do not follow your eye movements precisely, and usually drift when your eyes stop moving.

Treatment Options

In most cases, floaters are part of the natural aging process. They can be distracting at first, but eventually tend to “settle” at the bottom of the eye, becoming less bothersome. For people who have floaters that are simply annoying, no treatment is recommended. On rare occasions, floaters can be so dense and numerous that they significantly affect vision. In these cases, a laser surgery or a surgical procedure (vitrectomy) removes floaters from the vitreous, may be needed. Because these operations carry some risk, they are only used in cases where vision is severely impaired.