Eye floaters can occur in many shapes, numbers and densities. Indeed, it is believed that the pattern of a person’s eye floaters is unique to them, much like a fingerprint. When you go to doctors, they may have trouble locating the eye floaters with their instrumentation; however, with your help they can correctly locate it and diagnose it properly.
The shape and clarity of an eye floater will depend a lot on its position within the eyeball. If your floaters look hazy and the edges are not well-defined, than it is likely that the floaters are either close to the lens or near the center of the eyeball. When the floaters are at these locations, light coming in through the lens and past the floater will cast a shadow on the retina, and this shadow is actually what you are seeing (and not the floater itself).
On the other hand, if you can see your floaters clearly, with edges that are very well-defined, than it is likely that your floaters are found just off the retina. With these kind of floaters, the light won’t have time to diffuse after passing through the floater and before touching the retina. Therefore, by simply describing well your perception of eye floaters, you can help your doctor make a good diagnosis on the type and location of the floaters. Unfortunately, even with an accurate description of the eye floaters, your doctor may not always be able to detect them.
This difficulty in properly diagnosing eye floaters can cause doctors to give the wrong recommendation when it comes to treatment. For example, if the doctor thinks that the floaters are in the middle of the eye, a particular type of surgery (e.g. laser removal) may be recommended. However, if the floaters turn out to be close to the retina, some types of surgery may be totally inappropriate. Proper diagnosis of eye floaters can be especially problematic in young people, because the vitreous humor is usually in better condition than that of older people. This can make the floaters harder to detect with medical instrumentations.
However, even though medical detection is not always accurate or particularly useful, you should always seek out medical advice when you first develop eye floaters and also in the event that they suddenly change in number or density. Although most of the time eye floaters are benign, they can also be a symptom of a very serious condition, such as a retinal tear. A doctor will be able to detect this and will give you the urgent medical treatment that such a case would warrant.