Have you ever been lying on your back, looking up at a clear sky and suddenly noticed a slowly moving spec? It probably wasn’t a UFO. More likely, it was a common floater: specks, squiggles or cobwebs caught inside the vitreous gel of our eyes that only gets more prominent with age.
We all have them from birth. As we age, the vitreous tends to shrink away from the retina in the back of the eye, like Jell-O left too long in a bowl. The floaters are actually shadows, cast upon your retina, of protein and cell debris discarded over the years. Most people learn to ignore them, and many will fade away in time. If, however, they obstruct your vision, try looking up and then down to clear them.
In time, the vitreous gel can totally shrink from its structure. This is called posterior vitreous detachment. It usually happens suddenly and may be accompanied by flashes or streaks of light. New floaters may appear. When this happens, it’s important to make an appointment for a dilated exam as soon as possible; if the vitreous pulls away too fast, it can tear the retina. This is a serious problem. It can lead to a detached retina and blindness.
Concerns about seeing spots are only natural, and most of the time it’s just part of the aging process. If you still have questions, talk to San Francisco / North Bay Ophthalmologist and LASIK surgeon Dr. Bansal about any visual concerns or problems you’re experiencing.
At LaserVue Eye Center we provide care for Posterior Vitreous Detachments. Please call 1.800.527.3745 to schedule your appointment today.