Pretty much everyone has seen those weird transparent wormy things occasionally floating across their field of view. They always look a bit unnerving, as though some kind of bug is sitting on your eye. So, what are they?
It turns out they’re called ’muscae volitantes’, which is Latin for ’flying flies’…but they’re actually not flies at all, or any other kind of bug.
Muscae volitantes are made up of tissue, red blood cells, or protein. These small pieces are seen when they move near the back of the eye where the retina is located. We are not seeing the floaters themselves, however the shadow they make on the retina.
Floaters pose no potential health threat at all. They can, however, make some people worried if they do not know exactly what they are seeing.
“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.”
Floaters are particularly pronounced if you gaze at something particularly bright, such as a piece of white paper or a blue sky. You’ll notice that they move as your eyes move and appear to zoom across your eye as you try to look at them directly.
Floaters are usually just an annoyance that people get used to, but sometimes they can hamper vision and therefore require surgery. This procedure involves removing the vitreous and replacing it with a saline liquid.