What Are Those Tiny Translucent Blobs, or Floaters, You Seem to See in the Air?

January 27, 2015 Updated: July 18, 2015

Many people have seen amoeba-like, translucent particles floating in their vision, particularly in a bright setting.

Those particles aren’t floating in the air, however. They are floating in your eye.

“Floaters occur when the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills about 80 percent of the eye and helps it maintain a round shape, slowly shrinks,” according to the National Institutes of Health. “As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina. These are floaters.”

They can appear as little blobs or squiggly lines. 

Diagram illustrating the origin of "floaters." (Shutterstock)
Diagram illustrating the origin of “floaters.” (Shutterstock)

It happens naturally as we age. It’s usually nothing to worry about, but if the floaters worsen suddenly or are accompanied with pain or loss of vision, medical attention may be required, recommends WebMD.

Here’s a TED video lesson to illustrate more what floaters are.