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Dec 7, 2014
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You've seen it, and probably wondered WTF they are: those wispy/ghostly tiny specs that seem to float in your field of vision. Compounding the mystery is how we can't seem to focus or look directly at them—no matter how hard we try. It sucks, right?

Are they dust particles? Miniature worms that (gasp!) live inside our eyeballs? Or a side-effect of getting too high?

floatersGIF via Weknowyourehigh

None of the aboveand probably not anywhere near any other answer you might be itching to give. It's one of the greatest eye-related mysteries. But it doesn't have to be that way anymore thoughbecause science!

Watch:


Video via TED-ed

As a summary (or if you're impatient), here's the stuff we've learned from the clip:

  • Those darn things are called "floaters" and they're not living organisms
  • "Floaters" can be anything from red blood cells, tissue particles, or rogue pieces of protein
  • This is actually a common phenomenon (whew!)
  • It's impossible to focus on them because they're inside our eyes and they move when our eyeballs move
  • "Floaters" are more visible when you're staring at a blank, uniform space with minimal visual elements (e.g. an all-blue backdrop)

Finally, we can file this mystery in the "solved" bin! YAY!

floaters

So, the next time you see 'em "floaters," don't be alarmed and call the doctor very quick, mkay? Shout-out to the guys of the YouTube channel TED-ed for easing our thoughts!

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