- Aging & Longevity
My Eye Floaters
Before I knew about eye floaters , I was always fascinated by the small worm-like figures in my eyes. I noticed them only occasionally and I had to focus hard to notice and track them as they moved about as the eyes moved. Then, one night in my 55 years of age, I noticed a small lightning bolt appearing at the upper right corner of my right eye as I moved my eyes right to left. I did not see the small lightning bolt if my eyes remained stationary. It lasted for about two hours before disappearing completely.
The next day, I noticed a drastic increase of the worm-like figures in my right eye. Some of them were quite large and began to affect my vision when I started to pay attention to them. I was a little bit worry so I looked up the condition on the Internet on Eye Anatomy. It was then I got to know what they were called.
From the Internet, I learned that the appearance of floaters after the lightning bolt (or flash ) could be the result of a retina tear that could result in blindness . So, I immediately checked into my HMO ’s emergency room. The doctor there also recognized the severe nature of the matter and arranged an appointment with an Ophthalmologist .
The Ophthalmologist first applied an eye solution to dilate both of my eyes. After the pupil s were wide open, the Ophthalmologist used a light source and worn a magnifying glass to look into the back of my eyes in a very thorough and elaborate manner. After about 40 minutes of examination, the Ophthalmologist offered that there was no retina tear or detachment . I was greatly relieved to hear that. Afterward, I had to wear a dark-colored eyepiece for several hours till the dilated pupils went back to normal.
The Ophthalmologist explained that my condition occurred when the vitreous gel , the thick fluid that filled the center of the eye, shrank and separated from the retina. This is called posterior vitreous detachmen t (PVD), a common condition that is often harmless. Sometimes, though, PVD can tear the retina. At points where the vitreous gel is strongly attached to the retina, it can pull so hard on the retina that it tears the retina. The tear allows fluid to collect under the retina and may cause the retina to detach and initiate the onset of blindness. When the vitreous pulls on the retina the photoreceptors are mechanically stimulated. The retinal cells are incapable of perceiving pain, pressure, or temperature. The only stimulus that the retina responds to is 'light', thus, lightning bolt or flash. The tissues torn from an area adjacent to the optic nerve head become floaters.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment
PVD occurs in less than 10% people under 50 years of age but in more than 60% people who are over 70 years of age. It is more common for people who are nearsighted or who have had an eye injury or have undergone eye surgery or who have had inflammation inside the eye. In my case, I wear a prescription eye glass with a bad vision of 20/1000. The Ophthalmologist also informed that my left eye was undergoing similar process of the shrinking of the vitreous gel.
About two years later, my left eye went through similar conditions – flash then lots of floaters. I got to see the same Ophthalmologist with the same examination and result – no retina tear. The Ophthalmologist said that there was no cure for the floaters but my vision should be fine. I needed to see the Ophthalmologist only when I noticed the occurrence of flashes or more floaters. I am now 59 years old and I have not experienced any more abnormal eye conditions. I have learned to tolerate the floaters which are more noticeable in the daytime and have not diminished in their quantities. I still go to see an optometrist for my glass prescription. I find that the Retina Optomap Exam machine is very useful. It takes a scan of the retina in less than a second without pupil dilation. The image taken can be viewed on a computer screen to check for the overall health of the eye.