You may occasionally notice small specks moving in your field of vision. These 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 cells or material inside the vitreous, the clear, gel-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye. As we grow older, it is more common to experience floaters and flashes as the vitreous gel changes with age, gradually pulling away from the inside surface of the eye.
The appearance of floaters and flashes may be alarming, especially if they develop very suddenly. While many floaters are normal, the following symptoms may be sign of a retinal detachment or tear and you should call your ophthalmologist immediately.
- A sudden increase in size and number of floaters
- A sudden appearance of flashes
- Having a shadow or curtain appear in the periphery (side) of your field of vision
- Seeing a gray curtain moving across your field of vision
- Having a sudden decrease in your vision