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Floaters: appearance of moving spots before the eyes, arising from
remnants of the embryologic hyaloid vascular system in the vitreous
Any particles which appear to be moving in front of the eyes may be inclnded in this Latin term, which means floating flies. The appearances are often similar to a cloud of swirling cresents seen against a bright ground.
Most commonly this etiect is produced by the corpuscles of the blood in the vessels of the retina. This can be seen by anyone who looks upwards at a white cloud, while relaxing the accommodation, and is a perfectly normal occurrence. If the floating spots are really due to opacities either in the vitreous humour or in the lens, these can be detceted by an ophthalmic physician and all doubt dispelled.
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The vitreous humour is a perfectly transparent semigelatinous substance, or rather body, which fllls the globe of the eyeball behind the lens (q.v. ). Inflammation of neighbouring tissues, e.g. the choroid, retina or even the sclerotic, may set up serious disturbance in the vitreous. Such disturbance may not amount to more than one or more floating opacities, known as muscae volitantes (q.v.), which the patient learns to ignore and which scarcely affect his sight; or it may result in destroying the essential gelatinous nature of the vitreous, which becomes fluid and too easily re-absorbed into the neighbouring blood vessels, with corresponding loss of intra-ocular tension (q.v.) and total loss of sight, for which there is no cure.
Floaters are objects in the field of vision that originates in the vitreous body. These can be caused from a rupture of the retina with escape of red blood cells into the vitreous.