FLASHES , FLOATERS, VITREOUS DETACHMENTS

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 PLEASE CALL THE OFFICE AT 817 8613937 IMMEDIATELY IF YOU EXPERIENCE A DARK BLACK CURTAIN THAT MOVES OVER  YOUR VISION REPEATEDLY THAT DOES NOT IMPROVE AFTER AN HOUR. 


FLOATERS

Floaters are little "cobwebs" or specks  that float about in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy  shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly  lines. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to  look at them directly. They do not follow your eye movements precisely,  and usually drift when your eyes stop moving.

In most cases, floaters are part of the  natural aging process and simply an annoyance. They can be distracting  at first, but eventually tend to "settle" at the bottom of the eye,  becoming less bothersome. They usually settle below the line of sight  and do not go away completely. Most people have floaters and learn to  ignore them; they are usually not noticed until they become numerous or  more prominent. Floaters can become apparent when looking at something  bright, such as white paper or a blue sky.

Floaters occur when the vitreous, a  gel-like substance that fills about 80 percent of the eye and helps it  maintain a round shape, slowly shrinks. As the vitreous shrinks, it  becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the  retina. These are floaters.

Floaters are more likely to develop as  we age and are more common in people who are very nearsighted, have  diabetes, or who have had a cataract operation. There are other, more  serious causes of floaters, including infection, inflammation (uveitis),  hemorrhaging, retinal tears, and injury to the eye.   For people who have floaters that are  simply annoying, no treatment is recommended. On rare occasions,  floaters can be so dense and numerous that they significantly affect  vision. In these cases, a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure that removes  floaters from the vitreous, may be needed. A vitrectomy removes the  vitreous gel, along with its floating debris, from the eye. The vitreous  is replaced with a salt solution. Because the vitreous is mostly water,  you will not notice any change between the salt solution and the  original vitreous. This operation carries significant risks to sight  because of possible complications, which include retinal detachment,  retinal tears, and cataract. Most eye surgeons are reluctant to  recommend this surgery unless the floaters seriously interfere with  vision.


POSTERIOR VITREOUS DETACHMENT (PVD)

The most common cause of floaters is the posterior vitreous detachment.  Most of the eye's  interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that helps the  eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers  intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the  retina, the eye's light-sensitive tissue. As we age, the vitreous slowly  shrinks, and these fine fibers pull on the retinal surface. Usually the  fibers break, allowing the vitreous to separate and shrink from the  retina. This is a vitreous detachment. In most cases, a vitreous detachment is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment. 

As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes  somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina  that you may notice as floaters, which appear as little "cobwebs" or specks that seem to float about in  your field of vision. If you try to look at these shadows they appear to  quickly dart out of the way. One symptom of a vitreous detachment is a  small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. This increase  in floaters may be accompanied by flashes of light (lightning streaks)  in your peripheral, or side, vision. In most cases, either you will not  notice a vitreous detachment, or you will find it merely annoying  because of the increase in floaters.

A vitreous detachment is a common  condition that usually affects people over age 50, and is very common  after age 80. People who are nearsighted are also at increased risk.  Those who have a vitreous detachment in one eye are likely to have one  in the other, although it may not happen until years later.

Although a vitreous detachment does not  threaten sight, once in a while some of the vitreous fibers pull so  hard on the retina that they create a macular hole or lead to retinal tear and then a retinal detachment. Both of these conditions are sight-threatening and should be treated  immediately. If left untreated, a macular hole or detached retina can  lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye. Those who experience a  sudden increase in floaters or an increase in flashes of light in  peripheral vision should have an eye care professional examine their  eyes as soon as possible. The only way to diagnose the cause of the  problem is by a comprehensive dilated eye examination. If the vitreous  detachment has led to a macular hole or detached retina, early treatment  can help prevent loss of vision.


RETINAL DETACHMENT (RD)

 A sudden increase in floaters, possibly accompanied by light  flashes or peripheral (side) vision loss, could indicate a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment occurs when any part of the retina, the eye's  light-sensitive tissue, is lifted or pulled from its normal position at  the back wall of the eye. A retinal detachment is a serious condition and should always be considered an emergency. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent visual impairment within  two or three days or even blindness in the eye. Those who experience a  sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light in peripheral vision, or a  loss of peripheral vision should have an eye care professional examine  their eyes as soon as possible.    PLEASE CALL THE OFFICE AT 

817 8613937 IMMEDIATELY IF YOU EXPERIENCE A DARK BLACK CURTAIN THAT MOVES OVER  YOUR VISION REPEATEDLY THAT DOES NOT IMPROVE AFTER AN HOUR. 



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