Light Flashes, Vitreous Floaters, Retinal Concerns: What Causes Floaters or black dots floating in the vision is something that most people experience.The vitreous is a clear gel-like substance, which fills the central two thirds of the eye.
It is located between the lens and the optic nerve.
The vitreous has many functions including:
1) maintenance of the shape of the eye
2) a shock absorber
3) allowing transmission of images and light to the retina and
4) supporting the retina.
The vitreous is normally in contact with the retina. In time, the vitreous will pull away from the retina and shrink in to the central part of the eye. This event constitutes a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) and is an aging process.
Light Flashes, Vitreous Floaters, Retinal Concerns
What are the Symptoms ?
2) Lightning Flashes:
Lightning flashes are from the vitreous tugging on the retina. The retina is stimulated by tension which results in light flashes.
3) Decreased Vision:
Can occur secondary to bleeding inside the eye or retinal detachment. Early on, central vision may be normal but slowly some patients note a progressive “curtain, veil, or fog” which may obscure peripheral then central vision.
Will I have a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) ?
Most people will have a posterior vitreous detachment. It commonly happens in healthy eyes.
Additional events, which may lead to a PVD include 1) a history of eye surgery, 2) myopia 3) inflammation, 4) injury to the eye, and 5) bleeding inside the eye.
Are Posterior Vitreous Detachments Dangerous?
For the majority of those who have a PVD, there is no danger involved.
Up to 15% of those with a symptomatic PVD have an associated retinal tear.
Up to 50% of patients with one or more risk factors and a symptomatic PVD will develop a retinal tear.
A retinal tear can lead to a retinal detachment.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of a vitreous detachment without an associated retinal tear are often the same as those with a tear. The diagnosis of a retinal tear is only made with a dilated retinal examination.
When is it important to be examined?
If a retinal tear does occur , it usually happens at the same time that one begins to experience symptoms. It is important to be examined shortly after these symptoms begin.
A small percentage of patients may develop a retinal tear many weeks after the onset of symptoms.
For this reason, Dr. Duplessie will request that you return for a repeat examination.
If a PVD has occurred without a retinal tear, no treatment is necessary. The floaters will usually become less and less noticeable. With time, most people’s symptoms disappear entirely.
If a retinal tear has occurred, Dr. Duplessie will recommend treatment which may include laser treatment and or surgery. The prognosis is excellent with early diagnosis.