Floaters are usually small, black shapes that look like spots, squiggles, or threads, and "float about" in one's vision. They generally move as the eyes move, and are most noticeable against a plain bright background, such as a white or light-colored wall.

Retinal tear or detachment:
In some cases, as the vitreous is peeling away from the retina and detaching, it can pull so hard in areas of firm attachment that it tears the retina. Therefore, any person with a PVD should have a careful retinal exam to rule out an associated tear. As the retina tears, a retinal vessel may be torn or damaged, leaking blood into the vitreous. This blood, called a vitreous hemorrhage, may also produce floaters.
A tear in the retina is of great concern, because it can extend and allow fluid to enter through the tear and separate the retina from the underlying tissue. To picture how this happens, imagine cutting a hole in a carpet and running a water hose into the hole. The carpet will rise up as it separates from the underlying floor. Retinal detachments lead to vision loss and are considered an ocular emergency.

Anyone can develop a retinal tear and detachment, but they are more likely to occur in persons who are nearsighted, older, have recently undergone cataract surgery, or have sustained a trauma to the eyes.