Symptom: Floaters

Floaters: Floating spots or spidery webs in front of the eyes
Introduction: Floaters need immediate medical diagnosis by an eye specialist because of the risk of the severe retinal detachment, which can cause vision loss. However, other causes of floaters are more common than retinal detachment, such as vitreous detachment due to aging.

The shapes of floaters vary, with effects such as spots, dots, wavy lines, cloud-like shapes, spidery-webs, and other variations. There may be one large floater, or many smaller floaters, or any combination. Floaters may be caused by opaque substances (e.g. blood) floating in the vitreous or from problems with the retina. Floaters in the eyes are seen by the person, but nothing can usually be seen on the eyes. The floaters move with the eyes, so you usually cannot focus on them. To see them best, look at a white piece of paper, wall, or a clear sky.

Floaters are often associated with visual flashes, where the person sees flashing lights or sudden pulses of bright lights. Flashes are also a symptom of serious disease such as retinal detachment, but there are less serious possibilities also. Any floaters or flashes need immediate medical diagnosis by an eye specialist.

Description: Floaters are tiny spots or specks that float across the field of vision. Most people notice them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters often are normal, but sometimes they warn of eye problems such as retinal detachment, especially if they happen with light flashes. If you notice a sudden change in the type or number of spots or flashes, see your eye doctor.1
Detailed cause information for symptom: Floaters:
  • Possible causes of symptom: Floaters (9 conditions)
  • Medical conditions causing symptom: Floaters (7 conditions)

    Medical articles on symptoms: These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Floaters type of: Blind spot (9), Eye symptoms (199), Seeing spots (7)
    Symptoms: symptom center, symptom groups, symptom descriptions

    Possible causes of symptom: Floaters: The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Floaters as a symptom. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

    Conditions listing symptoms: Floaters: The following list of conditions have 'Floaters' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.


  • Autoimmune uveitis ... Floaters


  • Diabetic Retinopathy ... floaters


  • Posterior vitreous detachment ... floaters


  • Retinal detachment ... floaters
  • Retinopathy ... floaters


  • Uveitis ... Floaters


  • Vitreous detachment ... floaters

    1. excerpt from Aging and Your Eyes - Age Page - Health Information: NIA

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