Eye floaters, light flashes, posterior vitreous detachment – A State of Sight #36

Eye floaters, light flashes, posterior vitreous detachment – A State of Sight #36

Isaac Porter, MD explains posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) in this episode of A State of Sight. PVD can cause new floaters to appear in the vision or light flashes in the side vision.

The vitreous gel fills the back part of the eye and has a more firm consistency when we are born. As time passes, the vitreous degenerates and becomes more liquid. When this happens, the vitreous can shrink and pull away from the retina where it was initially attached, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. This is a normal process and happens to most people, at an average age of 57.

When a PVD occurs, it could cause a retinal problem by tearing or breaking the retina where it was previously attached. This could lead to a retinal detachment and is best to be found and treated promptly. Therefore, if patients notice the symptoms of PVD including floaters or light flashes, they should have a thorough dilated eye exam. New floaters could look like black spots or specks that move in the vision, or many dots like a shower of pepper. Light flashes are usually in the side vision and can be very bright like flash bulbs or look like electrical flashes. Often, flashes are more noticeable in dim lighting.

Please post any questions you may have about flashes, floaters, or posterior vitreous detachment!

For more info about flashes / lights that can be seen with migraines (migraine aura) see A State of Sight #39:

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