What is Retinal and Vitreous Diseases ?

The retina is a layer of nerve tissues at the back of the eye.  It is sensitive to light and can transmit signals from the optic nerve to the brain, where a visual image is formed.  The vitreous body is a clear gel that fills the space between the retinal and the lens.  Changes of vitreous consistency, due to age, can lead to seeing black spots or floaters.  Damage to the retina can lead to blindness, vision interruption, seeing black spots, flashes and shadows.  Both structures can be subject to several conditions, including problems caused by trauma to the eye, age related disease of the eye, diabetes, hypertension, systemic medication and congenital or inherited conditions.

Retinal tear and detachment

Floaters are small specks or clouds that move in your field of vision.  It can appear as different shapes and sizes.  When we reach middle age, the vitreous gel consistency changes and start to shrink, forming clumps of strands inside the eye and “floaters” are what you see when the strands’ shadows are cast on the retina. A posterior vitreous separation is the most common cause of floaters. The retina can tear if the shrinking vitreous gel pulls away from the wall of the eye. A torn retina can lead to a retinal detachment that can lead to blindness if not treated. 

It is more common in people that:

Flashes and floaters become more common with age.  However, while most are not serious, you should always have a thorough eye exam to make sure there has been no damage to the retina.  Contact Honolulu Laser & Eye Clinic right away if you develop new flashes and floaters, especially with sudden decrease in vision or the appearance of a shadow/curtain in your field of vision.

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