What are those floaty things in your eye? Science ex­plains

Tehran Times - - SCIENCE -

If you’ve ever no­ticed tiny worm-like shapes or trans­par­ent blobs in your field of vi­sion - you know, those things that mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­pear as soon as you try to fo­cus in on them, then reap­pear right when you give up and start look­ing at some­thing else don’t worry, you’re not crazy, and you don’t have par­a­sites in your eye­balls.

What you have is floaters, and while that name in­vokes cer­tain other things we won’t men­tion, there’s noth­ing gross about them.

(Tech­ni­cally known as mus­cae voli­tantes, which in Latin trans­lates to “fly­ing flies”, these an­noy­ing op­ti­cal il­lu­sions are cre­ated in­side your eye­ball un­der very spe­cific cir­cum­stances.

As the TED-Ed video above ex­plains, floaters are tiny ob­jects that get in­side your eye­ball and cast shad­ows on your retina - the light-sen­si­tive tis­sue at the back of your eye.

They’re not for­eign ma­te­ri­als, but bits of your own body that break loose - such as tiny por­tions of tis­sue, red blood cells, or pro­tein - and end up in the gel-like vit­re­ous hu­mor that fills the space be­tween the lens and the retina.

If you want to get a bet­ter look at your floaters, try to find a uni­form back­ground to view them against, like a blank com­puter screen or a clear sky. You’ll prob­a­bly still strug­gle to catch them in fo­cus, but you’ve got a much bet­ter chance of get­ting to know them a lit­tle bet­ter.

If you’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced floaters be­fore, but have seen tiny flashes of light when look­ing up at the sky, you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a sim­i­lar - but en­tirely un­re­lated - op­ti­cal il­lu­sion known as the blue field en­top­tic phe­nom­e­non.

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