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The term “floaters” refers to a condition that affects about 76 percent of all people who are not visually impaired. These sometimes appear in your field of vision while staring at something bright and uniform, like the sky, snow, or a white screen. They appear as moving objects that resemble small worms.

Although they go by the formal name Muscae volitantes, or “flying flies,” they are not insects. They are little items inside your eyes, as a great TED-Ed video explains. They may be protein clumps, red blood cells, or tissue fragments floating in the vitreous humor. This gel-like material fills the space between the lens and the retina and keeps the eye healthy.




Artist impression of floaters. Image Credit: Swill Klitch/Shutterstock.com

Artist impression of floaters. Image Credit: Swill Klitch/Shutterstock.com

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However, as floaters travel throughout the vitreous, they throw shadows on the retina, producing strange images that many of us can perceive. Light enters the eye through the lens, activating certain cells on the retina.


Another strange occurrence of moving objects appearing as floating in our field of vision is also explained in the movie. It’s known as the blue field entoptic phenomenon, the video says. This effect is referred to in the video as the floaters’ opposite. The “blue sky sprites” are white blood cells in the capillaries of the retina, not a shadow from the vitreous humor.

These immune cells are large enough to slow down red blood cells, leading to capillary sections that are only plasma-filled, followed by a cluster of white blood cells, in which red blood cells are not present. Because blue light is not absorbed by plasma or white blood cells like red blood cells are, we can see them moving when we look at a blue bright region, such as the sky.

Credits: iflscince

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