Visual inputs usually come into the eye from the external environment in a normal way but they can be also influenced by various changes in the interior of the eye, for example by the floaters in the vitreous body. Everything has got some bugs ... even the eyesight. Does it happen to you sometimes that you look at the sky or other larger and brighter area and all of a sudden you are being disturbed by "eye floaters"? Did they move a bit further when you were trying to focus on them? If you have such problems then do not panic. The diagnosis is: muscae volitantes or eye floaters.

In fact there are no floaters in the eye. It is only you who perceives them. To be able to explain what is the cause of these so-called eye floaters we firstly have to describe how it looks like in the interior of the human eye. The eyeball consists of the eye wall whose interior part consists of the retina, the light sensitive layer. This layer perceives the visual perceptions.

The vitreous body fills the interior area of the eyeball. "Corpus vitreum" is a latin term for the vitreous body what in translation means a body composed of glass. However, this term does not correspond completely with the reality because even though the vitreous body is a transparent fluid, which we do not perceive under normal circumstances, it is not vitreous. The vitreous body is a transparent, gel-like fluid which in childhood is as thick as a runny pudding.

What causes eye floaters

With the age comes the drying, thinning of the vitreous body and the changes in its structure. Tiny and slight floaters form on its surface. As the floaters move very near towards the retina they are perceived as eye floaters. Around the fifth decade of life this often leads to a detachment of the posterior part of the vitreous body in the forward direction.

However, the posterior part is not completely transparent and has a visible ring by which the vitreous body was attached to the optic nerve. The ring is often perceived as an unpleasant web which moves in front of the human eye. However, these anomalies in the vitreous body do not have to affect exclusively the elder generations but they occur also in part of the younger generation.

Symptoms of eye floaters

The diagnosis of floaters in the eye or muscae volitantes was described on the basis of subjective symptoms which the patient perceives. Other symptoms different from the perception of certain images do not even exist.

The patient perceives floating semitransparent images (floaters) which can move slowly in the area of the central vision and remain there after every change of look. The patient feels like he is chasing them. Mostly they are not exactly in the center but immediately next to it. When you will try to focus on these images they will move a bit further.

We do not perceive them in our ordinary life but we will notice them when looking at the monolithic bright surface (e.g. when looking at the sky, white wall, when reading and so on). Floaters in the eye never worsen the sight, they only make the patient more nervous and frighten him a bit at the beginning because he is afraid of some more serious illness.

Diagnosis of floaters in the eye

In general, the diagnosis is banal and simple and does not cause any further problems then aforementioned eye floaters which we perceive in certain situations.
Despite this it is recommended to visit an ophthalmologist when encountering these problems and describe the problems to him in detail. Sometimes some other problems can show in a similar way and those can be more serious eye illnesses which the patient is not capable of distinguishing.

The similar symptoms can occur during detachment of the posterior part of the vitreous body when the danger of crack in the retina can arise.
The eye floaters form also during the intraocular inflammations or during bleeding into the internal part of the eye. The symptoms are a bit different but only a doctor can diagnose more serious problem based on what you will tell him and of course on the basis of the eye examination.

During your visit to the ophthalmologist your sight will be examined eye by eye. Then your pupil will be extended through the application of drops and the doctor will perform detailed examination of the eye background.

The examination of muscae volitantes

The most commonly the doctor examines the patient by a slit lamp. He sets up a special magnifying glass (biomicroscope) in front of patient's eye to see the details on the eye background through large magnification, namely on the retina and in the vitreous body. Another procedure, which is even more detailed, is the examination with the help of the special lens (Goldman lens) which is attached to the human eye after the surface of the eye is anaesthetized by drops. The doctor sees right to the edge of the retina and the area of the vitreous body. This examination can exclude some other more serious diagnoses.

Eye floaters treatment

There is no need to undergo any eye floaters treatment with respect to the fact that the diagnose is utterly harmless and does not have any influence on worsening of the vision or sight damage. Most of the patients get used to this problem after some time and they begin to ignore it and it ceases to bother them or possibly they perceive it only when they increase the level of concentration for example on some white wall.

The formation of eye floaters depends on the natural changes in the vitreous body and is not caused by any behavior of the patient: neither reading nor working on the computer.

Do you have a risk of the formation of eye floaters?

All of us have a risk of the formation of floaters in the eye. It is a very common problem which a lot of people suffer from. Moreover as we get older the probability of the formation of muscae volitantes increases. However, this problem can occur also at younger age and mostly in short-sighted people.