It has probably occurred to you that when you happen to look up into something really bright and of a solid coloring, say a piece of white paper or a clear blue sky, there would be this annoying little “things” that would float about the edge of your eyes. And that no matter how hard you try to focus your view on it, it just manages to slip off the corner of your vision? What you might just have seen, in these cases, could be what is known as “floaters”, which resides in the eye. Just what exactly are these “floaters” and what harm, if any, could they cause to the eyes?
While as annoying as it can be, in most circumstances, floaters are actually quite harmless to your eyes, as it is, in effect, a very natural phenomenon. While it is of a general misconception that these floaters are merely an illusion, these things really do “exists” in the eye, and the spots or the stringy things are simply what the eye perceives it as.
Floaters are actually the imperfections that exists in what is known as the vitreous humor (Or simply as Vitreous), which is the gooey membrane like substance that fills up the otherwise empty gap between the eyeballs and the inner eye lid. Vitreous is mostly made out of water, with less than a percent of that consisting of collagen and hyaluronic acid. The perception of the floaters comes in when you age. As you age, the “network” of collagen and acid that helps ensures that all of the water molecules stays in the place will start to fall apart slowly and steadily.
Since the hyaluronic acid is the main agent of keeping the water molecules in place, the water molecules would be “freed” from their original positions, thus being like stray water “groups” in a sea of Vitreous, and thus due to the different components in the two liquids, the areas where these two liquids come into contact would be shaped out. This would cast a shadow on the retina, and thus making you see the “water bubbles” in the sea of vitreous, which the eyes perceive as floaters.
The reason why they appear to “float” away is that Vitreous would move in tandem with the eyeballs, and thus when you look towards the “water bubbles”, they will also move in your direction, thus making it seems like it’s actually floating away.
The thing about floaters is that in most cases these are benign, but when the floaters appear more of the time together with random flashes of light, it could be a symptom of retina tear. Retina tear is when the weight of the floaters rips off the retina from the eye, and thus results in you losing your vision in that eye. But with proper care of the eyes, these sorts of symptoms could be eased.