Eye doctors around the world frequently examine people for a chief complaint of floaters. Patients describe a wide variety of symptoms, usually worsened by bright lighting conditions. The vast majority of patients with eye floaters have a benign condition known as vitreous syneresis in which portions of the normally clear and transparent vitreous jelly inside the eye becomes less transparent.
Patients may describe a wide variety of symptoms, including spiders or insects darting across their vision, cobwebs, dirt on the windshield, spots, strands, black spots in their vision, squiggly lines, and of course floaters.
Similarly, the anterior vitreous attachment or vitreous base in toward the front of the eye can exert tractional forces on the underlying peripheral retina. A similar cascade of events can occur as seen posteriorly or in the back of the eye. However, anterior vitreous traction will usually not result in a separation or detachment of the vitreous, since the attachment of the vitreous to the underlying retina at the vitreous base is much stronger. This vitreo-retinal traction may pull on the thin anterior retinal tissues strongly enough to create a small hole in the retina.
Floaters have been reported in patients as young as 9.They may be of embryonic origin or acquired due to degenerative changes of the vitreous humour or retina. However, floaters in teenage patients and young adults are usually harder to treat. For people in this age group, the floater that is seen usually looks like a kind of crystal (translucent) worm/web/cell. However floaters are extremely common in adults with almost everyone over the age of 70 being affected by it.