Can Eye Floaters Be a Sign of Something More Serious?

Can Eye Floaters Be a Sign of Something More Serious?

Can Eye Floaters Be a Sign of Something More Serious?

Have you ever noticed something moving in your eye when blinking or looking in different directions? While it doesn’t hurt, it looks as though something’s floating around in your eye. If so, you probably have floaters. Surprisingly, roughly seven out of every 10 people have them.


Naturally Occurring Changes


In most cases, eye floaters are nothing more than changes that occur naturally with age. With age, the vitreous, a jelly-like substance, inside of the eyes begins to contract and liquefy. As a result, tiny pieces of collagen fibers form within the vitreous. When that happens, people notice small shadows or floaters.

However, floaters can also indicate a more serious problem. So, if you notice an increase in floaters that comes on quickly, don’t hesitate to see an eye specialist. Most importantly, when combined with flashes of light, it could call for emergency intervention.


Symptoms of Eye Floaters


As mentioned, you would typically notice tiny shapes that move around when you blink or look in different directions. Sometimes, they’re relatively small, while other times they’re quite large. In addition, the floaters would move with your eyes. However, if you tried to focus on a floater, it would quickly vanish from your line of vision.

Also, floaters can settle down. When that happens, they often move out of your line of vision. Floaters are more noticeable when looking at something with a white or light-colored background. For instance, if you have eye floaters, you would easily see them when looking up at the sky or focusing on a white wall.


When Floaters Could Pose Serious Risk


Often, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if any of the following occurs, you need to make an appointment with an eye doctor right away.

Possible Torn Retina

  • Excessive number of floaters

  • Sudden development of new floaters

  • A blurry spot that compromises your ability to see

  • Floaters combined with flashes of light

  • A dark area on one or both sides of your peripheral vision

Any of these symptoms could point to a tear in the retina, which may or may not involve detachment. If not diagnosed and treated immediately, it can lead to blindness.




Uveitis is the medical term for inflammation that develops in the middle layer of tissue or the uvea. In the case of posterior uveitis, the back of the eye, including both the retina and choroid layer, becomes inflamed. In turn, this causes floaters to appear. Usually, an inflammatory disease, infection, or some type of autoimmune disorder is the underlying cause.


Bleeding Within the Eye


Bleeding can occur in the vitreous. Typically, that’s due to a tear in the retina with detachment. However, other causes include high blood pressure, diabetes, blocked blood vessels, and even injury. Regardless, the blood cells appear as floaters.


Certain Eye Medications and Surgeries


To treat certain eye disorders, a specialist injects medication into the vitreous. Sometimes, that causes the formation of air bubbles, which appear as floaters until they’re absorbed by the eye. Also, eye surgeons add silicone oil bubbles associated with surgeries on the retina and vitreous. Again, until absorbed, they look like floaters.


Eye Stroke


Yes, even the eyes can experience a stroke. This happens when there’s a lack of sufficient blood flow to tissues located at the front portion of the optic nerve. For one thing, an eye stroke is incredibly dangerous to a person’s vision. For another, it can indicate that high risk of suffering a major stroke.

According to researchers, damage to the small blood vessels going to the eye should serve as a warning. This kind of blockage can cause almost immediate changes in vision. That includes darker spots or areas, blurriness, and shadows or floaters.


The Bottom Line


Although floaters might not pose any risk, they can. For that reason, if you have them, you should have your eyes examined as soon as possible. However, if you notice any of the warning signs of something more serious, schedule an appointment right away. For optimal care, call 702-341-7254 or 702-452-2020 to see one of the optometrists at Kopolow & Girisgen Doctors of Optometry in Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada.

none 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Closed Closed optometrist 7024522020 Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
Sun 10am-5pm Lake Mead Inside LensCrafters 7361 W Lake Mead Blvd #104
Las Vegas, NV 89128 9460 W. Flamingo Rd Ste #100
Las Vegas, NV 89147 Meadows Mall Inside LensCrafters 4300 Meadows Ln #126
Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas, NV, 89107 St. Rose Inside LensCrafters - South Fork Pointe 9975 S Eastern Ave #100
Las Vegas, NV, 89183 Galleria Mall Inside LensCrafters 1300 W Sunset Rd #1617
Henderson, NV, 89014 Pearle Vision at N Green Valley Pkwy 1000 N Green Valley Pkwy. Suite 420
Henderson, NV 89074 Pearle Vision at S Maryland Pkwy 9770 S Maryland Pkwy. Suite 10
Las Vegas, NV 89183 Pearle Vision at Nellis Blvd 230 N Nellis Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89110 Pearle Vision at Sunset Rd 1381 W. Sunset Rd Suite 120
Henderson, NV, 89014 Pearle Vision at Sahara Ave 8145 W Sahara Ave #510
Las Vegas, NV, 89117 Pearle Vision at Tropicana 6160 W. Tropicana Ave Suite E-4
Las Vegas, NV, 89103 Pearle Vision at N. Rainbow 2021 N Rainbow Blvd #100
Las Vegas, NV, 89108 Pearle Vision at S. Rainbow 7090 S. Rainbow. Blvd Suite 100
Las Vegas, NV, 89118 Pearle Vision at Valle Verde 75 S. Valle Verde Pkwy. Suite #100
Henderson, NV 89012 Pearle Vision at Rampart Blvd 2279 N Rampart Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89128 Pearle Vision at Windmill 8025 S Rainbow Blvd. Suite 104
Las Vegas, NV 89139