Eye floaters are most commonly caused by the separation of the vitreous body from the inner walls of the eye. As you age, the vitreous gel in your eye liquefies and shrinks, thus weakening the inner wall. When the vitreous detaches it begins to condense—this causes the floaters the average person notices in their vision.
Part of the inner wall of the eye is called the retina, and is a vital part of what allows us to see. At times, when the vitreous separates from the inner walls of the eye it remains adhered to parts of the retina. This rare attachment can cause tears of the retina, resulting in vision loss should a retinal detachment take place. If detected early enough, retinal tears can be sealed with laser surgery. Using a laser, your eye doctor can seal the retinal tears before retinal detachment can take place, saving you from vision loss.
Floaters can be caused by bleeding within the eye and retinal tears can cause this bleeding. Another disease that can cause vitreous hemorrhages is diabetes—this is due to the abnormal vessel formation that can occur with this disease.
Most of the time floaters aren’t worth worrying about, but as with anything, if it ever becomes cause for concern make sure to see your eye doctor. While rare, floaters could be a symptom of a much more severe eye disease.