(WYTV) – Do you see spots, flashes of light or darkness on any side of your vision? Those could be what eye doctors call eye floaters, a symptom of age.

And we most often notice them when we’re looking at a plain, bright background, such as a blue sky or a white wall, up pop those grey specks or strings or cobwebs.

“In the back of our eyes, we have a substance called ‘the vitreous.’ when we’re young, it’s a firm clump of jelly. As we age, this firm clump of jelly can liquefy and break up into smaller pieces. Those smaller pieces are what you may notice as floaters,” said Dr. Amir Khan, in Ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic.

Eye floaters are more common as you get older and if you’re nearsighted. But they can tear your retina, and then fluid can get in beneath the tear and just lift the retina off like wallpaper off a wall, that’s a retinal detachment.

And that can cause blindness, which is why it’s especially important to have a dilated eye exam within days of noticing new floaters or changes in vision.

Most eye floaters need no treatment, but your eye doctor likely will recommend regular eye exams to make sure the floaters stay calm and harmless.