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object seen while swimming

Diana van Driel dianavd at eye.usyd.edu.au
Tue Apr 23 22:56:29 EST 1996

>Say! I've seen these same "thingies" and have heard that they are
>floaters. But I also see something that looks like lights moving along
>pre-defined paths. The paths intertwine and when lights go behind some
>paths then the lights become invisible. It looks like they are small dots
>of light moving on a contorted freeway sort of setup. The floaters are
>fairly stationary, except that they float and are wildly effected by
>blinking. The lights I see move along the same paths all the time and
>unaffected by blinking. I only see the lights when I look, for instance,
>at a really blue sky and get real still. Any thoughts what these
>pinlights might be?
>Just interested,

Floaters are bits and pieces that are shed into the vitreous (the
jelly-like substance filling the back of the eye). Hence the name and the
fact that they seem to drift to new positions over time. What you are
describing is actually blood cells coursing through the retinal
capillaries. There are several layers of capillaries, therefore the
impression of the "lights" (actually cells) going behind other "paths"
(actually capillaries). Your description is quite apt - the capillaries are
rather like a contorted freeway. Very observant - not too many people would
notice this!

Diana van Driel
Dept Ophthalmology
Sydney University

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