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Ocular pathologies

Vitreous detachment

Flying flies


Occasionally, you may see small dots or clouds moving in your field of vision. They are called “hoverflies” or “floating spots”. They are usually observed when looking at a simple background, such as a wall or the blue sky.

The “floating spots” are tiny pieces of the jelly-like substance or cells of the vitreous humor, the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inner chamber of the eye.

Although these objects appear to be in front of the eye, they actually float inside the eye. What you see are the shadows cast on the retina, the inner layer or membrane that covers the back of the eye and receives light, allowing you to see.

Floating spots may appear in different shapes such as dots, circles, lines, clouds or spider webs.


What causes floating spots?


As people reach middle age, the gel-like material in the vitreous humor may begin to thicken or shrink, forming clumps or strands within the eye. Vitreous gelatin detaches from the back of the eye, causing posterior vitreous detachment. This is a common cause of floating stains.

Posterior vitreous detachment is more common among people who:

  • They are myopic.

  • They have undergone cataract surgery.

  • Have undergone YAG laser eye surgery.

  • They suffer from inflammation inside the eye.

The appearance of floating spots can cause great concern, when sudden. If you suddenly develop floaters, you should consult your ophthalmologist immediately, especially if you are over 45 years of age.


Are the floating spots serious?


When the vitreous gelatin shrinks and separates from the wall of the eye, the retina may tear. This may cause a small hemorrhage in the eye, which may appear as a new group of floating bodies.

A retinal tear is a serious problem as it can develop into a detached retina.

We recommend that you consult your ophthalmologist immediately if:

  • Suddenly a new floating spot appears, even if it is only one.

  • If red floating spots appear. They may indicate the presence of blood.

  • Suddenly he sees flashes of light.

If you notice other symptoms, such as loss of side vision, consult your ophthalmologist again.


Can floating stains be removed?


Generally, floating stains are harmless and disappear with time, or become less uncomfortable making treatment unnecessary.

Generally, floating stains are harmless and disappear with time, or become less uncomfortable making treatment unnecessary.


What is the cause of the flashes of light?


The flickering may come and go for several weeks or months. As we age, they become even more common. If you suddenly perceive flashes of light, you should immediately consult your ophthalmologist to see if the retina has suffered a traction tear.

Are you suffering from vitreous detachment? Contact us.