Spider Web Vision: Should You Be Worried?

Ever wake up and feel as though you’re viewing the world through a spider web? Your eye seems to be filled with dark, squiggly lines and spots that move when you try to look at them. They can be terribly distracting and a little upsetting. That spider web illusion is caused by eye floaters.

What causes eye floaters and who gets them?

Eye floaters form when the vitreous — that’s a jelly-like substance that fills your eyeballs and gives them that round shape — changes and pulls away from the interior surface of your eyeball. As it becomes stringy, it casts shadows on your retina.

anatomy of the human eye

Anyone can have eye floaters. Most of us do at one time or other, but you’re more prone to eye floaters as you age. Risk factors include:

  • being over age 50
  • nearsightedness
  • diabetes
  • complications of cataract surgery
  • trauma to the eye
  • inflammation of the eye
  • bleeding in the eye
  • torn retina

Should I see a doctor?

Most of the time, floaters are not a health threat, but they can be a warning sign of something more serious.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), if a section of the vitreous pulls fine fibers away from your retina suddenly, you may have a bunch of new floaters. It’s called vitreous detachment, which usually doesn’t require treatment.

If your floaters are accompanied by flashes of light or loss of vision, it could be a sign that your retina is detaching. This is a serious medical condition that can lead to permanent visual impairment or blindness within days. If you have floaters and are experiencing flashes of light, see your eye doctor, ophthalmologist, or physician right away. Your doctor will likely dilate your pupils to get a good look inside your eyes.

If you have a few floaters, but no other warning signs, you probably don’t need to rush to see a doctor. It’s still a good idea to have your eyes checked periodically, especially after entering middle age.

Will they go away?

In rare cases, according to the NEI, too many floaters can affect vision. If necessary, floaters can be removed in a procedure called a vitrectomy. As with any procedure, there are some risks, including retinal tearing or detachment, and it doesn’t prevent new floaters from forming.

According to the Mayo Clinic, an ophthalmologist can also use a special laser to break up floaters so they aren’t so bothersome. Risks of this procedure include damage to the retina.

Fortunately, most floaters resolve on their own. They don’t go away, but they generally fall out of our field of vision or we stop noticing them.

Related Reading
5 Ways to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Photos:
Main: Dirima | iStock | Thinkstock
Eye Illustration: snapgalleria | iStock | Thinkstock

83 comments

Jessica C
Jessica Cabout a year ago

thanks

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Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ

Interesting article thanks for sharing

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn2 years ago

Many thanks to you !

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Sravanthi R.
Sravanthi R.2 years ago

Floaters can sometimes be healed or you can get relief with natural herbs. Home remedies for floaters can be tried if you think its in the starting stages.

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heather g.
heather g3 years ago

I can clearly remember episodes of watching floaters in my eyes when I was in my early twenties. This observation would happen when I was lying on the beach and my sun-glasses would reflect my eyes to me..... At that time I hadn't heard of floaters, but even today I sometimes see them....

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Daniel W.
Daniel W.3 years ago

I was so scared of getting eye floaters before my laser treatment at a lasik surgery center in Oakville called See by Intravision ( http://seebyiv.com/lasik-services/laser-vision-correction/ ). Everyone I knew warned that I would have dry eyes, excessive floaters, and a ton of other problems. In the end all I had was a little itching for 3 days. Nada floaters.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Consult our doctor

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell3 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Klaus Peters
Klaus Peters3 years ago

Great article. I have a couple of floaters in my left eye, so annoying, they came overnight. My doctor said, that is nothing it will go away. But after months of no change I think I better see an eye specialist.

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