Have you ever swatted at what you thought was a fly or gnat, only to find that nothing was really there? If so, you may actually be experiencing “floaters” in your vision.

What are floaters?

The eye is a hollow structure filled with a jelly-like substance called the vitreous. As we age, the vitreous liquefies and can pull away from the wall of the eye which is lined by the retina. This can cause us to see flashes, like lightning in our vision. When the vitreous detaches, it creates clumps in the eye, which we see as flies, gnats, cobwebs or hairs.

What is a PVD?

When the vitreous detaches completely, it is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). This is a normal part of aging and will happen in both eyes but not always at the same time. By age 70, most will have a PVD in one or both eyes. Nearsightedness, ocular surgery, diabetes or trauma may cause it to happen sooner.

This is not usually harmful, but if the vitreous pulls too hard on the retina it may lead to a hole, tear, detachment, or bleeding on the retina. This is why it is important to have these symptoms evaluated by an eye care provider.

Once a PVD has occurred there is no treatment for it. Over time your brain will forget about it and you will only see your floater occasionally.

If you experience any new flashes or floaters, contact Vista Eye Care at 520-625-5673 for an appointment.

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