Vitreous Detachment (PVD)
vi-tree-uhs: A jelly-like substance that fills the space in the middle of the eye (behind the lens and in front of the retina). It is made up almost entirely of water, with small amounts of collagen, sugars and salts. The vitreous is attached to the retina at the front and the back.
With age, the central part of the vitreous becomes watery causing the vitreous to collapse in on itself. This in turns causes the outer part of the vitreous to pull away from the retina - known as a posterior vitreous detachment.
A PVD can cause the following symptoms:
Floaters: These can be in the shape of tiny dots, lines, rings, flies or cobwebs and appear to be grey or black in colour. Floaters are more easily seen whilst looking at a bright white background such as the sky or a white wall. The floaters move fairly freely and give the impression of following the eye from different positions of gaze. Bare in mind that some floaters occur in natural changes in the vitreous.
Flashing Lights: As the vitreous begins to move away from the retina, the traction caused is interpreted by the brain as a flash of light, as the brain is unable to interpret signals from the retina in any other way.
A thorough examination is important to ensure no further damage has occurred to the retina. With time, the floaters may move out of the line of sight and therefore be less noticeable.
If you experience and flashing lights in your eyes or anything that may resemble a floater, book an appointment for an eye examination immediately.