Ever noticed those irritating transparent worm-shaped objects floating around in your line of sight? As soon as you focus on them, they disappear. As soon as you look away, they come right back. Really annoying, aren’t they? And it happens more when we are out in the open during the day. In fact, I don’t really remember seeing them in the evening.
So what are they?
These worm-like things are actually known as “floaters” and aren’t experienced by everyone. Only 70% of the people in this world have actually experienced them.
The majority of our eye’s interior is made up of a gel-like substance known as vitreous humour. Its main purpose is to maintain the eye’s round shape. The light passing through the lens has to pass through our vitreous humour before reaching our eye’s retina. Floaters are nothing but shadows cast by the vitreous humour in this journey of light. Although this fluid is mostly made up of water, it also contains some proteins among other substances,
How do they work?
Floaters are basically composed of these proteins that have formed a cluster of sorts. These clusters of protein block the light and form these free-form shapes on our retina. However, most often they are in the form of transparent circles, worms, or tadpoles.
Floaters can also be caused by small haemorrhages in the eye as the red blood cells enter the vitreous humour. It can occur if the gel pulls on blood vessels in our retina. These might have a different appearance. They might be a little smoky in appearance and generally vanish once the blood is absorbed.
Floaters also appear due to old age as this causes a shrinkage of the vitreous gel. This is a natural phenomena, and is nothing to worry about. As the vitreous pulls away from our retina bits, its debris can enter the gel and become floaters. They usually look like cobwebs.
When does this happen?
We generally experience them as we gaze at something that’s too bright for our eyes. Like the sun, or a very, very bright light. As soon as you move away from the light, you’d notice these buggers mysteriously appearing from nowhere. Although there’s nothing to worry about, sometimes these can hamper our vision, thus requiring surgery. In this, the docs would remove the vitreous gel and replace it with saline liquid.
This video might also help you understand it a bit more.
With info from ifflscience.com