The middle of our eye is filled with a clear gel called vitreous (vi-tree-us) that is attached to the retina. Sometimes tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous will cast shadows on the retina, and you may sometimes see small dots, specks, strings or clouds moving in your field of vision. These are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at plain, light background like a blank wall or blue sky. As we get older the vitreous may shrink and pull on the retina. When this happens,you may notice what look like flashing lights,lightning streaks or the sensation of seeing “stars.” These are called flashes.
Retinal tear and retinal detachment:
Detached retina, usually, the vitreous moves away from the retina without causing problem. But sometimes the vitreous pulls hard enough to tear the retina in one or more places. Fluid may pass through a retinal tear, lifting the retina off the back of the eye — much as wallpaper can peel off a wall. When the retina is pulled away from the back of the eye like this, it is called a retinal detachment.
The retina does not work when it is detached and vision becomes blurry. A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless it is treated with detached retina surgery. Vitreous gel, the clear material that fills the eyeball, is attached to the retina in the back of the eye. As we get older, the vitreous may change shape, pulling away from the retina. If the vitreous pulls a piece of the retina with it, causing a retinal tear. Once a retinal tear occurs, vitreous fluid may seep through and lift the retina off the back wall of the eye, causing the retina to detach or pull away.
Vitreous fluid normally shrinks as we age, and this usually doesn’t cause damage to the retina. However inflammation (swelling) nearsightedness (myopia) may cause the vitreous to pull away and result retinal detachment.
Symptoms of a retinal tear and a retinal detachment can include the following:
A sudden increase in size and number of floaters, indicating a retinal tear may be occurring A sudden appearance of flashes, which could be the first stage of a retinal tear or detachment.
Having a shadow appear in the periphery (side) of your field of vision; Seeing a gray curtain moving across your field of vision; a sudden decrease in your vision.