Floaters are a common complaint in middle aged and older people. The occur when debris within or deterioration of the fluid that fills the eye, called the vitreous, occurs. This debris casts a shadow on the retina, leading to the sensation of small dark spots floating in the visual field.
Floaters are not in and of themselves a disease. They do tend to occur earlier in life in those who are nearsighted, and also in those with certain chronic medical conditions such as diabetes. Over time new floaters tend to fade and the nerves of the brain tend to adjust to their presence; the net effect is that they are less and less noticeable over time.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for floaters. Although laser and surgical treatments have been discussed, these are not routinely done as the risks (such as permanent damage to a basically healthy eye) from any procedure far outweigh the benefits.
The only exception to the above is as follows: A sudden precipitous increase in the number of floaters, especially if accompanied by blurry vision, flashing lights, or other major visual problems can sometimes be a sign of a detached or detaching retina, and is cause for alarm and an indication for seeking help from an eye doctor