Have you ever noticed a strange little worm-like speck drifting aimlessly about in your field of vision? These annoying little squiggly lines, or “cobwebs,” are called floaters and are experienced by around 70% of people. So what are they?
Floaters are actually shadows cast by objects suspended in the clear, gel-like substance that makes up the majority of the eye’s interior. This substance is called vitreous humor and helps to maintain the eye’s round shape. After passing through the lens, focused light has to pass through the vitreous humor in order to reach the retina at the back of the eye. It’s mostly composed of water but also contains proteins and various other substances.
Everyone’s seen them, they always steal my focus when they float across my vision. Most people assume they’re dust or a small fuzz in their eye, but in reality, they’re not what anyone expected them to be.
I had them all the time when I was a kid. I was always outside playing and looking up at the sky. I would always try to play with the floaters and move them around trying to make them do as I commanded. However, our minds and eyes can do some amazing things and you’ll never guess what they actually are!
Even though I still notice them on occasion now that I’m an adult, at least I know what they truly are thanks to TED-ed!