Here at NYSCI, we’re pretty familiar with the parts found inside the eye, and we have all gotten our fair share of questions that could have been saved for the optometrist. Have you ever wondered about those weird worm-like specks that drift into your vision, then keep reading.
Those squiggly lines usually show up when you look at something really bright like the blue sky, or a white piece of paper. Those guys are called floaters, and they’re actually just shadows. As the cow’s eye dissection can attest, there is a glob of jelly-like goo that fills up the interior of the eye called the vitreous humor. This is where the floaters are located.
The purpose of the vitreous humor is to help the eye to stay round, and to keep the retina flat against the back of the eye. When light focuses through the different parts of the eye like the cornea and the lens, it must also pass through that gel to get to the retina. The floaters, that form when proteins in the vitreous clump together, often get in the way of the light that is projected onto the retina. Once the light is blocked, a shadow will be cast, resulting in the cobweb-like bits we see.
We all have ‘em, but only about 70% of people actually pay attention to the floaters in their eyes. They’re always there, but your brain tends to ignore them because it’s gotten used to them. Y our brain is pretty good at seeing around the floaters, the same way it ignores the way your nose blocks your vision. It’s very rare, but there are some severe cases of eye floaties that require the vitreous humor to be extracted and then replaced with saline liquid.