Vitreous is a gel-like substance that is filled in the eye to give it the round shape. There are many fine fibers inside the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina. As a result of ageing, the vitreous shrinks in size and these fibers pull on the retinal surface. These fibers usually break which allows the vitreous to separate and shrink from the retina. This is known as vitreous detachment.
The condition vitreous detachment is a condition that usually affects people who are over 50 years and is very common for people aged over 80. People who suffer from nearsightedness are also at an increased risk. People who have a vitreous detachment in one eye are most likely to suffer from it in the other eye. This may not happen until years ater though.
When the vitreous shrinks, it becomes stringy and the strands then form tiny shadows on the retina that can be seen as floaters. When you try to look at these shadows they appear to quickly dart out of the way.
One of the symptoms of vitreous detachment is a small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. The increase in floaters may be followed by flashes of light in the peripheral, or side, vision.
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Read more Vitreous Detachment Causes and Risks.