Flashes & Floaters:
Some people may occasionally see small specks or clouds moving in your field of
vision. These are called floaters. Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells
inside the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye.
While these objects look like they are in front of the eye, they are actually floating
inside. When people reach middle age, the vitreous gel may start to thicken or shrink,
forming clumps or strands inside the eye. The vitreous gel pulls away from the back
wall of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. Posterior vitreous detachment
is more common in people who:
- Are nearsighted
- Have undergone cataract operations
- Have had YAG laser surgery of the eye
- Have had inflammation inside the eye
When the vitreous shrinks, it tugs on the retina, creating a sensation of flashing
lights. The flashes of light can appear off and on for several weeks or months.
As we grow older, it is more common to experience flashes.
As the shrinking vitreous gel pulls away from the wall of the eye, it can cause
a retinal tear in places where the vitreous gel sticks too tightly to the retina.
This sometimes causes a small amount of bleeding in the eye that may appear as new
floaters. A torn retina is always a serious problem, since it can lead to a retinal