Vitreous detachment


Glass body discharge is common as you get older and most people do not notice it. Usually, you do not need treatment. It is uncommon but if there have been holes in the retina in conjunction with the glass body loosening then you may need treatment.

You can get glass body relief in one or both eyes. It does not have to happen simultaneously in both eyes.

What is a glass body?

The glass body is a translucent jelly-like mass that fills the space between the lens and the retina of the eye. It is stuck in the retina. As we age, the glass body shrinks while the tissue that attaches the glass body to the retina becomes weaker. This allows the glass body to detach from the retina. It is usually not dangerous without a natural part of aging.

Symptoms of vitreous detachment

Glass body discharge often comes suddenly and usually does not hurt.

It is common to have one or more of the following symptoms of Vitreous detachment in a vitreous body discharge:

  • You see small moving points, dashes or rings. They are called clouds.
  • You see lightning on the edge of the field of view.
  • You see large moving soot flakes or get very hazy eyes.


Clouds occur when the glass body shrinks. They are perceived as greyish-black semi-transparent points, lines or rings in the field of view or as dirt on the glasses that cannot be polished. The clouds disappear after a while or you get used to them. If the clouds obscure your field of vision, it may help to look up and down a few times. Then the clouds usually move.  

Lightning and soot flakes

Flashes on the edge of the field of vision are due to the glass body pulling into the retina as the glass body loosens. Then there can be holes in the retina. If you see large moving patches that resemble sooty flakes or get blurred vision it may be because a small bleed has occurred in any of the retina’s blood vessels.

When should I seek care?

The vast majority of those who have cloudiness do not need to seek care because the problems usually go away by themselves after a few months.

If you have one or more of the following problems, contact a health care center or an on-call clinic :

  • You see lightning on the edge of the field of view.
  • You see large moving soot flakes or get very hazy eyes.

If you see a grayish or dark shadow on the edge of the field of vision, contact a health care center or an on-call reception immediately. If closed, seek care at an emergency room.


To find out if you have a vitreous body discharge, the doctor does an eye examination with an eye microscope. It consists of a lamp and a magnifier. The eye microscope stands on a table that can be raised and lowered.

Some parts of the eye can be difficult to see with a normal-sized pupil. Therefore, the pupil is often dilated with eye drops.

You sit on one side of the eye microscope with your chin and forehead against support. It makes the head completely still. On the other side of the microscope, the doctor sits and examines the eye with the help of magnifying lenses.

You may be dazzled when the light from the eye microscope is directed through the pupil towards the retina.

Treatment of vitreous detachment

You usually do not need any treatment of vitreous detachment if you have a vitreous body discharge. On the other hand, it is important that you be examined by a doctor, as vitreous detoxification can make holes in the retina. Then you need treatment.

If there are holes in the retina then it needs to be repaired. Otherwise, there is a risk that you will get retinal detachment. The hole in the retina is laser-cured. The treatment of vitreous detachment takes about ten minutes and is done at an eye reception. First, the eye is anesthetized with eye drops. Then you have to sit with your head in the support of the eye microscope. The doctor then directs short light rays with a laser into the eye. It may feel like a slight prick in the eye but it usually doesn’t hurt.  

After the laser treatment of the retina, you can go home immediately. You may be photosensitive as the pupil has enlarged. You may also find it difficult to read anything 24 hours and should avoid driving during that time, but otherwise feel as usual.

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