Vitreous floaters: Spots floating in vision


The vitreous body is the inner jelly-like part of the eye. It is composed of 98% water, and macromolecules of collagen and hyaluronic acid.

Floaters appear suddenly and are caused by molecular changes inside the eye, which occur mainly due to age. They are a visual phenomenon caused by opacities that produce shadows with dark points. These move with the eyes and head movements. They are usually clusters of protein, amyloid, or cells.

Floaters pose no danger to a person’s eye and usually go away on their own. We resort to eye drop treatment when there are many floaters and it becomes very annoying for the patient. The consumption of omega 3 supplements is also recommended. It is not necessary to remove it with surgery.

A fundus evaluation with an ophthalmologist is recommended to evaluate the complete structure of the vitreous body, the retina and its attachment zones. This test is done to rule out inflammatory processes that can alter the structure of the vitreous, vitreoretinal dystrophies, myopic vitreopathy, diabetic retinopathy, etc.

When we are born, the vitreous is firmly attached to the retina. In the young, the vitreous is quite dense and thick like a firm jelly. But with age, the vitreous becomes more watery and thin. Around the age of twenty-thirty and up, the vitreous may be watery enough to allow some floaters to move around inside the eye.

It is very common in people over 50 years of age, and they can be larger and more annoying. Sometimes even flashes of light are seen in the vision. At this age the vitreous gel becomes more watery. It is also common in people with high myopia, diabetes, heavy tobacco use and in Roatan many scuba divers have experienced floaters in their vision. Studies are being made to see if there is a relationship between the two.

Over time the vitreous floaters become less noticeable. The brain adapts and suppresses their presence. Floaters will be seen more particularly if you cover one eye and look at a light-colored background or during the day.

Any human being with flashes or the sudden appearance of floaters should be immediately examined by an ophthalmologist. He or she will perform a dilated fundus exam using specialized equipment.

Suddenly appearing vitreous flashes and floaters can be symptoms of vitreous detachment, which is a benign condition but with the risk of retinal detachment.

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