Seeing flashes and floaters? It may be a case of posterior vitreous detachment
“Is this real or am I seeing things?” Sometimes, people with otherwise normal vision may suddenly see moving, blurry shadows or streaks of light. Chances are they may have a case of posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), a non-life-threatening condition of the eye that typically comes with aging.
At the office of The Retina Partners, our team of ophthalmologists is skilled at diagnosing PVD and a wide range of eye conditions with the goal of maintaining the best eyesight possible for each patient.
Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is a very common eye condition caused by natural changes to the gel-like substance (vitreous gel) that fills the middle portion of the eye. With advancing years, the vitreous gel becomes more watery, less gel-like and isn’t able to keep its usual shape. This causes it to move away from the retina — the light-sensing nerve layer at the back of the eye — toward the center of the eye, causing unusual visual effects.
Once PVD has been diagnosed, symptoms can be frustrating in the short-term, but they usually diminish over time. Classic hallmarks of the condition include seeing flashes (streaks of light, usually at the side of the vision), floaters (mobile blurry shadows that obscure vision), and cobwebs (hazy, blurry vision).
Most often patients experience PVD after age 60, once in each eye, and the condition is usually non-sight-threatening. No specific treatment is needed, but in rare instances serious complications can arise that require immediate treatment, such as retinal detachment. For this reason, we recommend one or more checkups within three months after the onset of PVD. Although unusual, floaters may persist, in which case surgery to remove them may be an option.
Committed to maintaining good eye health
At the office of The Retina Partners, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care for you and your family. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.