The vitreous is the filling substance of the eye. In its consistency, the vitreous body is comparable to the white part of an egg. The vitreous is transparent and fills the space between the eye lens and the retina. For the most part, the vitreous body consists of water, which is bound in a framework made of fine fibrils and a substance, hyaluronic acid. From a young age to adulthood, like a sponge, this water binding means that the vitreous can completely fill the space in front of the retina.

In the course of life this water binding decreases and the vitreous body slightly collapses. One speaks of a vitreous destruction. The vitreous then separates from the contact surface with the retina – the ophthalmologist describes this process, which occurs in most people’s lives in the course of life, as an acute posterior vitreous detachment.

Streaks, flies, threads and passing shadows can be perceived in those affected. Since the connecting threads still remain from the vitreous into the retina, the movement of the vitreous can cause Entoptic phenomena on the retina, leading to light phenomenon such as flashes of light that occur again and again.

As part of an acute vitreous detachment, the pulling effects on the retina can also result in holes and larger tears in the retina. If you experience symptoms such as flashes of light, streaks, soot rain, shadows or the like, you must visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible to check if you have developed a retinal tear.

Retinal tears or smaller retinal holes can become starting points for retinal detachment.


Floaters or mouches volantes arise from the physiological compression of collagen fibrils and irregularities in the vitreous and are present in most eyes. Floaters can cause diffraction effects and cast shadows on the retina, which appear as transparent, movable, net-like, point, worm or cloud-like structures. They appear in front of bright backgrounds (e.g. white walls, snow, screens) due to the contrast.

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