Eye floaters are the little dots that seem to drift around in the fluid of the eye (the vitreous humor) - are common in people over the age of 50 who have experienced some trauma to the eye.
Any significant blow to the eye region during a car accident or ball game, for example, can cause eye floaters to form.
A lifetime of other natural wear and tear-such as heavy lifting, coughing, vomiting, straining at the stool, or actually rubbing the eyesmay also lead to changes in the vitreous humor, even if, at the time, such actions don't seem to have serious impact on the eyes.
The vitreous humor has a fibrous portion lining the eyeball; the inner portion of the vitre-ous is more liquefied. During fetal life, there are blood vessels and cells in the vitreous, and some of them may remain after birth. Occasionally, the entire artery nourishing the back of the lens (the hyaloid artery) remains inside the vitreous after birth. Such leftover blood vessels and cells cause the mild shadows in the vision that we call floaters.
Eye floaters can be annoying or distressing.
Nearsighted people almost always have a certain number of floaters because of the shape of their eyes. In older people, the vitreous transforms from a gel to a more liquid form (a natural change that everyone experiences), and any cells left in the eye become freer to move about, and so are more visible. The number of floaters, therefore, can increase with age.