When we are born and throughout our youth, the vitreous has a gel-like consistency. But as we age, the vitreous begins to dissolve and liquefy to create a watery center.
Some undissolved gel particles occasionally will float around in the more liquid center of the vitreous. These particles can take on many shapes and sizes to become what we refer to as “floaters.”
You’ll notice that these types of spots and floaters are particularly pronounced when you peer at a bright, clear sky or a white computer screen. But you can’t actually see tiny bits of debris floating loose within your eye. Instead, shadows from these floaters are cast on the retina as light passes through the eye, and those shadows are what you see.
You’ll also notice that these specks never seem to stay still when you try to focus on them. Floaters and spots move when your eye moves, creating the impression that they are “drifting.”
The sudden appearance of these symptoms could mean that the vitreous is pulling away from your retina or that the retina itself is becoming dislodged from the inner back of the eye that contains blood, nutrients and oxygen vital to healthy function. When the retina is torn, vitreous can invade the opening and push out the retina — leading to a detachment.
A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in late 2009 found that sudden presence of eye floaters and flashes means that one in seven people with these symptoms will have a retinal tear or detachment. And up to 50 percent of people with a retinal tear will have a subsequent detachment.
In cases of retinal tear or detachment, action must be taken as soon as possible so that an eye surgeon can reattach the retina and restore function before vision is lost permanently.
Posterior vitreous detachments (PVDs) are far more common than retinal detachments and often are not an emergency even when floaters appear suddenly. But some vitreous detachments also can damage the retina by tugging on it, leading to a tear or detachment.
As the vitreous gel fills the inside of the back of the eye, it presses against and actually attaches to the retina. Over time, the vitreous becomes more liquefied in the center. This sometimes means that the central, more watery vitreous cannot support the weight of the heavier, more peripheral vitreous gel.
Vitreous gel then collapses into the central, liquefied vitreous. While this occurs, the peripheral vitreous detaches from the inner back of the eye where the retina is located.
Eye floaters resulting from a vitreous detachment are then concentrated in the more liquid vitreous found in the interior center of the eye.
More than half of all people by the time they are 80 will have had a vitreous detachment.* If you are among the 40 percent of people with PVDs who also experience light flashes, then you have about a 15 percent chance of also developing a retinal tear.**
Light flashes during this process mean that traction is being applied to your retina while the PVD takes place. Once the vitreous finally detaches and pressure on the retina is eased, the light flashes should gradually subside.
Ordinarily, light entering your eye stimulates the retina. This produces an electrical impulse, which the optic nerve transmits to the brain. The brain then interprets this impulse as light or some type of image.
An unusually large floater called a “Weiss ring” represents a circular piece of condensed vitreous gel that is intimately attached around the optic nerve.
When this piece of vitreous separates from the optic nerve, many people will describe a circular, doughnut-shaped floater in their vision.
This ring sometimes will fold in half, creating a floater in the shape of a “J” or “C.” — C.S.
If the retina is mechanically stimulated (physically touched), a similar electrical impulse is sent to the brain. This impulse is then interpreted as a “flicker” of light.
When the retina is tugged, torn or detached from the back of the eye, a flash or flicker of light commonly is noticed. Depending on the extent of the tear or detachment, these flashes of light might be short-lived or continue indefinitely until the retina is repaired.
Flashes (photopsia) also may occur after a blow to the head, often called “seeing stars.”
Some people experience flashes of light that appear as jagged lines or “heat waves” in both eyes, often lasting 10-20 minutes. These types of flashes are usually caused by a spasm of blood vessels in the brain, which is called a migraine.
Floaters are often readily observed by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist with the use of an ophthalmoscope or slit lamp. However, if the floater is near the retina, it may not be visible to the observer even if it appears large to the sufferer.
Increasing background illumination or using a pinhole to effectively decrease pupil diameter may allow a person to obtain a better view of his or her own floaters. The head may be tilted in such a way that one of the floaters drifts towards the central axis of the eye. In the sharpened image the fibrous elements are more conspicuous.
The presence of retinal tears with new onset of floaters was surprisingly high (14%; 95% confidence interval, 12%-16%) as reported in a metaanalysis published as part of the Rational Clinical Examination Series in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Patients with new onset flashes and/or floaters, especially when associated with visual loss or restriction in the visual field, should seek more urgent ophthalmologic evaluation. Link
When you close your eyes and roll them towards your forehead, in a dark room, do you see a light? If the third eye is well opened, you should see a golden glow that might appear donut-shaped. It may be an irregular glow, it may be so large that you can only see the bottom of the donut ring, or the donut may have a tiny light in the centre. Link
I could not bear to have a light in my room after I retired to bed. The moment my head touched the pillow a large tongue of flame sped across the spine into the interior of my head. It appeared as if a stream of living light continuously rushing through the spinal cord into the cranium gathered speed and volume during the hours of darkness. Whenever I closed my eyes I found myself looking into a weird circle of light Link
If you meditate and focus on your third eye, you will see a circle of light. Link
Side Note: Most of the people who report these in the context of mystical experiences only have it happen a few times. Very few of them seem to have it on in the background at all times. Even professional acupuncturists who have spent decades training are essentially operating while blind.