Vitreous opacity occurs when the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills most of the eye, shrinks and forms strands that cast shadows on the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. These shadows manifest in the visual field as ‘floaters’.
Floaters are small spots, thread-like strands or squiggly lines that appear to ‘float’ in the visual field. They follow eye movements but not precisely, appearing to drift when the eyes stop moving and dart away when looked at directly. They may be accompanied by ‘flashes’, small flashes of light that can appear with or without the presence of floaters.
Floaters and flashes should be investigated, as vitreous degeneration can lead to retinal detachment. Most are simply a result of ageing, and while they may be distracting at first, people can learn to ignore them. In cases where floaters interfere significantly with vision, vitrectomy surgery may be required.
Coastal Eye Centre offers the highest standard of expertise in the treatment of vitreous opacity.