Frequently Asked Questions about Floaters


Eye Floater FAQsIf you’ve ever noticed a cobweb, cloud, string or speck that appears to be floating or drifting through your field of vision, you’re not alone. These visual occurrences are called floaters, and they are quite common.

To help educate you about floaters, Dr. Gregory Johnson of Intracoastal Eye answers frequently asked questions below.

What causes floaters?

Floaters are caused by changes in the vitreous, the clear jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye. With age, the vitreous begins to liquefy. If pieces of undissolved vitreous break free and float around in the liquid center of the eye, the particles cast shadows on the retina. This is what causes the illusion of something floating in front of the eye.

What do floaters look like?

Floaters can appear to be many different shapes, including dots, specks, threads, strands, cobwebs or squiggly lines. It’s nearly impossible to look at them directly, as they appear to dart away quickly if you try to focus on them. Floaters may be more pronounced when looking at a white or light-colored background or screen.

Are floaters harmful?

Most floaters are not cause for concern. However, a sudden increase in floaters — or floaters that are accompanied by flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision — can indicate a more serious problem, such as a tear in the retina or a retinal detachment, and should be evaluated promptly

Am I at a high risk for floaters?

Risk factors for floaters include:

How are floaters treated?

Floaters that are merely an annoyance do not require treatment. Floaters that are large, prominent or numerous in nature and affect vision can be treated during an in-office procedure with Dr. Johnson. Using an advanced laser, Dr. Johnson can evaporate the floaters into gas bubbles that dissolve quickly after the procedure.

Laser floater removal can be completed in 30 minutes or less and it is virtually painless.  Sometimes multiple treatments are required to see ideal results.

Learn More about Laser Floater Removal

If you are experiencing large or dense floaters that interfere with your vision, Dr. Johnson would be happy to speak with you in more detail about laser floater removal. Please call 910-777-8254 or email Intracoastal Eye to request an appointment with the doctor.