Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ah, the Joys of Aging...

...When your eyeballs turn from jello to soup.

A few days before we were set to go on the the trip to Alaska, I noticed something odd was going on with my right eye (for those who have followed this, I had a cataract in my left eye operated on in October).  The vision was very cloudy, bright lights had huge halos and the cloudiness would come and go.  I had a notion of what was happening, so I didn't say anything to Georgia, and we went on the trip anyway.  It has continued to improve, but upon getting back I made an appointment to get it looked at, and went this afternoon.

While I had not remembered the name of the condition, I had guessed what it was pretty accurately.  It is called Posterior Vitreous Detachment, and it is caused by the aging of the "vitreous" (what we used to call vitreous humor or eyeball goo) of the eye, the clear goo that fills most of the eyeball.  When you are young, it is the consistency of jello, but as you age it becomes thin and watery, and shrinks away from the retina.  The remaining trash from this process forms floaters, often a large one which interferes with the vision.  Mine seems to wander around and get in the way fairly often, although the problem is becoming less pronounced daily. One symptom I missed was flashing spots (where the vitreous tugs on the retina as it pulls away).  Hey, we used to pay good money for that.

The good news is that it is basically harmless (though occasionally it can tear the retina), and the effects fade with time.  The bad news is that there is no simple and convenient treatment.  I asked the doc if she couldn't just stick a straw in there and suck out the crap, and she said that maybe a retina surgeon could, but that it wasn't worth the risk.


  1. This just happened to me. I thought it was scar tissue on the lens capsule I had inserted after cataract surgery. (At least, I was hoping, as that can be lasered away.) It's a good idea not to put off seeing an eye doctor right away, as a retinal tear is possible, due to the tugging on the retina and to ignore THAT could be devastating, and that CAN be fixed by an eye surgeon. I liked your description of it. I would like very much to know how you are doing now, two months later?

  2. After 2 months, the symptoms are less, but still present. I find it annoying, but not limiting. Mostly, I can just wait out the floater that blurs the vision on the right side. I was hoping for a faster resolution but I guess it was not to be.

    However, two days ago, it happened in my left eye, the one with the cataract surgery. Having gone through it recently I readily saw the symptom. I had knew that the vitreous was starting to pull away on that one (I occasionally saw a ring of light in the dark), but two days ago, that expanded to edge of my vision, and I got the same obnoxious "floaters" that pestered the other eye. So tomorrow it's off to the eye Doc to make sure it's more or less innocuous.