What Causes Floaters? What are Floaters in the Eye?

Floaters in Vision

I sometimes see a black dot in the center when I close my eyes at night after about 30 seconds and then it disappears. Is that considered a floater even though it doesn't move?

Floaters are not something you would see with your eyes closed. Floaters are actually something that you would notice when your eyes are open. A floater is basically sitting in the jelly like substance in the back of our eye called our vitreous. It's the consistency of egg white. When you get a floater it's in that vitreous and anytime you move your eye around, if you do it on a sunny day with a bright blue sky, or if you're looking at a white piece of paper, you'll tend to see floaters. Some floaters can be bigger than others, but it's definitely something you're going to see with your eyes open and not with them closed.

More than likely you're probably in a room with light, and I'm guessing you're going to shut off that light and you're looking at that light right before you turn it off. It's bleaching your retina which pretty much you can think of it like when you look at a light real quick and then you look down again you're going to have that spot in vision. That's probably what you're seeing. I'm going to get really technical and go organic chemistry on you. I might get it wrong but you have rods and cones in the back of your eye and they are cis-form and trans-form, which is just the configuration of them. When you hit them with a bunch of light they're in cis-form initially and then they switched to trans-form and that's when you see that kind of dot. Then slowly what happens is your body starts to produce it and go back to the cis-form and they constantly go back and forth. That's how you see. It takes a while to get back to that cis-from, where you can see again, that's why you see that spot floating for awhile.

One Love,

Dr. Travis and Dr. Jenna

Drs. Jenna and Travis Zigler

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