How do you know if an eye floater is serious? Can you go blind with PVD?

"Floaters" in one's field of vision are the out-of-focus silhouettes of the vitreous gel's dissolution into its liquid and solid components. A posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is the release of the back vitreous gel from the retina. [This should not be confused with a retinal detachment which can be quite serious.] Since the vitreous has no known purpose beyond childhood, having a PVD or prominent floaters is not in itself a sign or symptom of anything more serious than simple aging.

However, in some cases the vitreous coming loose from the retina can pull on it and cause a tear, particularly in the case of the large eyeballs of very nearsighted people. While this is not likely to be the case, it is a good idea to see an eye doctor experienced in these things to make certain everything is OK.

_Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic