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Floaters (flying flies)

The vitreous body is a transparent structure that fills much of the posterior segment of the eye. It is a gelatinous structure that participates in the maintenance of the shape of the eye as well as to support the retina mechanically. It is anchored to the retina of the eye including the inner walls.

The vitreous is mainly formed of water (99%), but also contains hyaluronic acid and of the proteins that constitute the scaffolding: the collagen.

It is located behind the lens and precedes the retina, the light to reach the retina has to go through the entire vitreous body.

Accordingly, because the light will not be obstructed, the vitro body should always be perfectly transparent.

Foto concessione: Dott. C. Benedetti

The floaters, best known as floaters, are vitreous opacities, the result of degenerative phenomena that affect the hyaluronic acid and collagen contained mainly in the vitreous. So floaters are vitreous proteins no longer transparent but visible floating in the vitreous front of the retina.

Are considered of visual disorders characterized by the feeling of the presence of particles within the visual field, as if structures of various shapes, often oddly shaped, they were present between the eye and the object you are looking at. Not appear fixed but it seems that in some way could fluctuate in the air from which the name also of vitreous floaters.

Foto concessione: Dott. C. Benedetti

The moving bodies are perceived in a much more obvious when looking toward light or very bright surfaces like white walls of a room or watching a panorama on a clear day. By contrast in a dark area can vary and make less visible floaters.

Foto concessione: Dott. C. Benedetti

The summer period constitutes a critical moment because the outdoor life and the greater amount of hours of light can give the feeling of an apparent deterioration, because they make more evident the mobile bodies. It should not be forgotten that the vitreous is then constituted for 99% of water to which a greater sweating in summer leads to a dehydration sometimes also accentuated that also affects the vitreous accentuating the perception of mobile bodies.

The alterations of the vitreous body can also be very early, in many cases are evident already at 20 years. With age, which is the leading cause of floaters, the phenomenon progresses. Among the risk factors for early degeneration vitro there is also myopia, especially if of medium-severe degree.

The degenerative phenomenon, therefore, progresses in time and the vitreous undergoes a real liquefaction, leading also to a loss of the mechanical function of the vitreous support, in particular in respect of the retina that is to be subjected to mechanical stress in particular the so-called vitreous traction. The liquefaction of the vitreous and the structural modifications can cause a vitreous detachment which occurs in most cases asymptomatic way.

Foto concessione: Dott. C. Benedetti

It was mentioned, however, that the vitreous is anchored to the inner walls of the eye and therefore also to the retina, in some rare cases, therefore, the vitreous detachment can lead to retinal detachment, which constitutes the greatest risk when we start the vitreous. Floaters degeneration, therefore, are a symptom not to be ignored, to be followed over time with regular eye exams.