Vitreoretinal Disorder

Your eye consists of many different parts that take in light and send messages to your brain. How well your eye's function, as well as the health of them, is dependent upon each of these components functioning accordingly. If one part of your eye has an infection or disease, you may have symptoms including pain and visual disturbances, like seeing flashes or floaters. In some cases, it impacts your visual acuity. At The Center for Corrective Eye Surgery, serving the McHenry area and surrounding region, we optimize both your vision and eye health, even if you have a vitreoretinal disorder.

Retinal Detchment Diagram

Flashes and Floaters 

Most flashes and floaters are caused by age-related changes in the gel-like material, vitreous, that fills the back of the eye. The vitreous is firmly attached to the retina when one is born. Within the thick vitreous, there may be clumps of gel or tiny strands of tissue, debris left over from the eye's early development.

These clumps or strands are firmly embedded in the thick, young vitreous and cannot move around much. As you get older, the vitreous gradually becomes thinner or more watery. By the time you are in your twenties or thirties, the vitreous may be watery enough to allow some of the clumps and strands to move around inside the eye. This material floating inside the eye can cast shadows on the retina, which you see as small floating spots.

Who Is At Risk?

Flashes and floaters are very common.   Almost everyone experiences them at any given time.   They become more frequent as we age. It's important to get regular eye exams to check for flashes and floaters and to prevent and other serious problems occurring.

Treatment Options

There is no way to eliminate the floaters through surgery, laser treatment or medication.  With time, the floater will  become less noticeable as the brain adjusts to its presence and can "tune out" the floater.   The floater will always be somewhat observable and present.

Vitreous Detachment

Sometime after about age 55, you may experience the onset of larger, more bothersome floaters or flashes of light. By this age, the vitreous gel has usually become much more watery. It jiggles around quite a bit when you move your eye, making flashes and floaters much more common. Eventually, the aging vitreous can pull away from the retina and shrink into a dense mass of gel in the middle of the eyeball. Shadows cast onto the retina by the detached vitreous can cause you to see large floaters. 


Schedule an appointment with The Center for Corrective Eye Surgery, serving McHenry and the nearby region, by calling (815) 363-2020.