Ageing of the vitreous: From acute onset floaters and flashes to retinal detachment

Ageing Res Rev. 2015 May:21:71-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2015.03.006. Epub 2015 Apr 2.


Floaters and flashes are most commonly symptoms of age-related degenerative changes in the vitreous body and posterior vitreous detachment. The etiology and pathogenesis of floaters' formation is still not well understood. Patients with acute-onset floaters, flashes and defects in their visual field, represent a medical emergency with the need for same day referral to an ophthalmologist. Indirect ophthalmoscopy with scleral indentation is needed in order to find possible retinal break(s), on-time treatment and prevention of retinal detachment. The molecular and genetic pathogenesis, as well as the epidemiology of the ageing changes of the vitreous is summarized here, with view on the several treatment modalities in relation to their success rate and side-effects.

Keywords: Acute-onset floaters; Ageing of the vitreous; Flashes; Photopsia; Posterior vitreous detachment; Retinal detachment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Retinal Detachment / etiology
  • Retinal Detachment / physiopathology*
  • Retinal Detachment / therapy
  • Vitreous Detachment / etiology
  • Vitreous Detachment / physiopathology*
  • Vitreous Detachment / therapy