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Hi Matt:

I was out golfing on a sunny day and I noticed my eyes have these little marks in them, like you're looking through a microscope at little amoebas. They move around but don't change shape. The doctor says it's normal. But I'm not one who gets good information from doctors. What are they, and do you think UFOs or ghosts can be explained by these eye amoebas?

-- Putting and Pondering, Clairemont

Grandma Alice recently developed an eye thingy shaped like Mickey Mouse. It morphs into a four-leafed clover occasionally, but mostly it's Mickey. We're sure it's a corporate curse-- payback for years of dissing Disney. And we're always amazed at the number of sane but cheap people who present their ailing parts via email to me and the elves for diagnosis. Ma Alice is conducting a feasibility study of hosting our own medical insurance PayPal system. If someone goes to the doctor's office, gets an answer, and still insists on turning to Matthew Alice Wisdomporium and Collision Repair, well, it's obviously a trend we can't buck.

So you were suspicious of Doc when he/she said your eye amoebas are (probably) harmless globs of congealed vitreous humor. Known in the trade, to insiders with special technical expertise, as floaters. Were you hoping for some deadly diagnosis to help explain your bad putting? Sorry. No can help. Consider this. On its way to your retina, light passes through the liquid that fills the spheres that are your sparkly eyeballs. As we pass from youthhood to, um, say, middle-lateish grownuphood�as we start to get not young anymore is what I'm trying to say�things on the outside wrinkle up and some things on the inside thicken up. Like the liquid in our eyeballs. Clumps of the stuff (amoeba shaped, Mickey shaped, whatever shaped) sail around and essentially cast shadows on our retinas. Bright light makes them more noticeable. This is the most common and harmless explanation for eyeball amoeba; but these clumps can sometimes signal potential tears in the retina. So if you have floaters, point them out to your doctor first, then write to us.

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