What Are Those Weird Floating Things You Sometimes See In Your Vision?

About 76 percent of all non-visually impaired people experience something known as “floaters”. These appear as moving structures, like little worms, that sometimes appear in your field of vision if you are staring at something bright and uniform such as the sky, snow, or a white screen.

Their scientific name is Muscae volitantes, or “flying flies” – but they are not insects. As an excellent TED-Ed video explains, they are tiny objects within your eyes. They could be bits of tissue, red blood cells, or protein clumps floating in the vitreous humor. This is the gel-like substance between the lens and the retina that keeps the eye in shape.

Light enters the eye through the lens and activates certain cells on the retina, but as floaters move around the vitreous they cast shadows on the retina, creating the peculiar images that many of us can see.


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