In the course of life, the vitreous is subject to “degenerative” changes – a vitreous degeneration. The protein components and fibres, which are originally finely and evenly distributed and therefore invisible, join together and clump together. This process also leads to a decomposition and shrinkage of the vitreation. Liquid separates from the gel structure of the vitreous. (Everyday examples are the separation of liquid from yoghurt, quark or mustard.)
Some people have a little more liquid in the vitreous humor, which makes it more susceptible to the formation of tiny filaments and particles. Even with the slightest movement of the eye, the particles are then perceived as “floaters” because the particles cast shadows on the retina.
Other people, however, maintain firmer shape of the vitreous body until the day they die.
Oxidative changes of collagen fibers, hyaluronic acid and other components of the vitreous contribute significantly to the formation of vitreous opacity. Triggers are high-energy light sources resulting in reactive oxygen molecules (also referred to as free radicals).
If the activity of free radicals builds up, it is called “oxidative stress”. If this exceeds the antioxidant defenses of the vitreous, provided by highly concentrated ascorbic acid (vitamin C), there is damage.
One can positively affect the balance by consuming adequate vitamin C as well as other antioxidants such as flavonoids, and by wearing good sunglasses when outdoors.
Pay attention to a healthy diet, because prolonged poor diet (for example, fast food), too much unsaturated fats, cholesterol, and the lack of essential vitamins and micronutrients may lead to disturbances in both body and mind.
In addition to the above-mentioned causes, there are still many others which may be responsible for the emergence of “floaters”.
Therefore, younger people also can be affected when they have injuries or eye diseases or when taking medications with side effects. Stress and high blood pressure can also be a cause. Other rarer causes include autoimmune diseases, bleedings, foreign bodies in the eye and parasites.