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Floaters and Their Unwinnable Games

I cross the threshold of my front door into a burst of sunlight. I blink a few times and look around. All is as it was—asphalt punctuated by ambitious dandelions, shimmering blue-grey sea, and bright, cloudless sky. And yet, all is not as it was.

There is a small, transparent, grey spot at the top right corner of my vision. When I try to focus on it, it darts away. And when I stop trying, it darts back.

A lovely view made less so by my floater (top right corners)

This spot is what optometrists call a floater, and what I call an uninvited guest. That being said, it is less a guest and more a shadow of myself. Our eyes are 80% vitreous, a gel that helps maintain their shape. As we age, our vitreous shrinks and becomes stringy.¹ These strings clump together and block some light from reaching our retina.² This blocked light is the shadow, the floater, the uninvited guest.

As you can imagine, it is not easy to banish something that is a shadow of myself. However, with time, floaters tend to settle to the bottom of our eyes.² They tire of their unsolicited games of hide and seek and allow their hosts to rest. But until that time, I will begrudgingly play my floater’s unwinnable game.



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