Vitreous Detachment (and Floaters)
space is located posteriorly between the lens of the eye and the retina.
It is filled with a material called vitreous which is similar to clear
Jell-O. As we age, the normal jelly-like consistency of the vitreous
begins to liquefy. The vitreous may contract and pull away from its
natural attachments on the inside surface of the eye. When it pulls
free, it is often accompanied by light flashes and the appearance of a
new black spot or floater.
This is not dangerous, but it can be
accompanied by more serious eye conditions such as retinal tears and
vitreous hemorrhage. These occur when the strong attachments of the
vitreous to the retina do not separate properly, tearing the retina or
retinal blood vessels. This often leads to new floaters and persistent
light flashes. It is suggested that anyone with symptoms of a vitreous
detachment have an eye examination to make certain that a more serious
problem is not present.
Normal floaters are not dangerous and are
caused by tiny specks of tissue inside the vitreous. When light hits
these pieces of tissue, it creates shadows on the retina that appear to
float across your field of vision.
It may appear that these specks are on the
front surface of your eye, but they are actually inside. Except in rare
circumstances, floaters are no cause for alarm and no treatment is
necessary. However, a sudden increase in new floaters may indicate a
The McMann Eye Institute is a comprehensive ophthalmology practice
offering a full spectrum of vision correction and treatment services.