SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Symptoms of eye floaters may include:
- Spots in your vision that may look like dark specks or knobby, transparent strings of floating material
- Spots that move when you move your eyes, so when you try to look at them, they move quickly out of your visual field
- Spots that are most noticeable when you look at a plain bright background, such as a blue sky or a white wall
- Spots that eventually settle down and drift out of the line of vision
When to see a doctor
Contact an eye specialist promptly if you notice:
- Many more eye floaters than usual
- A sudden onset of new floaters
- Flashes of light
- Darkness on the sides of your vision (peripheral vision loss)
These painless symptoms could be caused by a retinal tear, with or without a retinal detachment — a sight-threatening condition that requires immediate attention.
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- Differential diagnosis of ocular symptoms. In: Ehlers JP, et al. The Wills Eye Manual: Office and Emergency Room Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&NEWS=N&PAGE=booktext&D=books&AN=01337416/5th_Edition/3&XPATH=/OVIDBOOK%5b1%5d/METADATA%5b1%5d/TBY%5b1%5d/EDITORS%5b1%5d. Accessed Dec. 21, 2011.
- Sendrowski DP, et al. Current treatment for vitreous floaters. Optometry. 2010;81:157.
- Facts about floaters. National Eye Institute. http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/floaters/floaters.asp. Accessed Dec. 21, 2011.
- Retinal detachment: Torn or detached retina treatment. EyeSmart. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/detached-torn-retina-treatment.cfm. Accessed Dec. 27, 2011.