A sudden increase in floaters is a sign you may have a posterior vitreous detachment and a strong signal that it’s time to schedule an eye examination. Dr. Wael Abdelghani at The Woodlands Retina Center encourages you to have a thorough evaluation as soon as possible. A posterior vitreous detachment is one of the top causes of a torn or detached retina, which causes vision loss. If you develop symptoms, or you simply have questions, call the office in The Woodlands, Texas, or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.
The vitreous is a clear, gel-like substance inside your eyes between the lens and retina. It’s firm enough to exert the pressure needed to maintain the shape of your eye and to ensure layers of the retina stay pressed together. It also helps transmit light to the retina by keeping the center of the eye clear.
The vitreous doesn’t just freely float around in your eye. Millions of thin collagenous fibers weave through the vitreous gel then firmly attach to the retina’s surface.
Over time, the vitreous becomes more liquefied. As a result, the gel shrinks, pulling on the fibers attached to the retina. If the fibers break, the vitreous separates from the retina, causing posterior vitreous detachment.
Vitreous detachment is a common occurrence that affects people aged 50 and older. Your risk increases after the age of 80. It also occurs more often in people who are nearsighted.
If you have a vitreous detachment in one eye, your chances are higher for having it develop in your other eye.
You may not have any symptoms when the vitreous detaches, but if you do, you’ll experience an increase in floaters, flashes of light, or both. Flashes of light occur in about half of all patients, but floaters are the most common symptom.
You see noticeably more floaters because tiny pieces of tissues are torn from the retina when the vitreous detaches. These opaque substances get stuck in the vitreous and cast shadows on the retina, which you perceive as floaters. The floaters may diminish over time, but you still have a detached vitreous.
A vitreous detachment doesn’t harm your vision. When it detaches, however, it can pull hard enough to detach or tear the retina; both are serious conditions that cause permanent vision loss.
If you don’t have any symptoms, Dr. Abdelghani may recommend more frequent eye exams to watch for signs of a retinal tear. If your retina is torn or detached, surgical intervention is essential to prevent vision loss.
Please call Dr. Abdelghani or book an appointment online anytime you have a concern about your vision.