Thomas B. Wood, OD

Mary J. Mantini, OD

Clear Vision Begins with Healthy Eyes.

Vitreous Detachment


Most of the eye's interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue. As we age, the vitreous slowly shrinks and these fine fibers can pull on the retinal surface. In most cases, these fibers break allowing the vitreous to cleanly separate from the retina. This is a vitreous detachment.


Risk Factors


A vitreous detachment is a common condition that usually affects people over age 50 and those who are nearsighted are also at increased risk. Those who have a vitreous detachment in one eye are at an increased risk for vitreous detachment in the other eye months or even years later.


Symptoms and Detection


One common symptom of a vitreous detachment is a  sudden increase in the number of new floaters and sometimes may be accompanied by flashes of light. Vitreous detachment is typically painless and the change in floaters may be quite subtle. Because the symptoms of vitreous detachment are similar to retinal detachment, the only way to determine the correct diagnosis is by a comprehensive dilated examination as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms.


**Anyone who experiences a sudden increase in floaters or flashes of light should seek an evaluation of their symptoms by an eye care professional as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. You may call our office (703.369.3937) to schedule a dilated examination.