Asteroid Hyalosis | Benign Floaters in the Vitreous

Asteroid hyalosis (AH) is a NORMAL condition affecting about 1:200 normal patients.  This is a great video captured several years ago in one of my patients and clearly demonstrates the pronounced yellow-white complexes floating in the vitreous.

Asteroid Bodies

The white particles are composed mainly of calcium and are not associated with any disease.  There presence is a mystery and no link to eye disease has been proven.

The particles develop and are suspended in the vitreous.  The density of the particles varies from patient to patient.  In some cases, the asteroid bodies are so dense that it makes it very difficult to examine the retina.

Surgery to remove the vitreous and the asteroid hyalosis might be necessary to allow better examination and treatment of the retina in cases, for example, of diabetic retinopathy or suspected retinal detachment or retinal tears.

Vision Loss Caused by Asteroid Hyalosis

Most patients with asteroid hyalosis have no symptoms!  That’s right, most patients with this condition can’t tell they have this condition.  The asteroid bodies do not normally affect the patient’s vision.

On rare occasion, some patients do complain of blurry vision and/or floaters.  The vision may be cleared if a retina specialist feels that a vitrectomy is warranted.  The asteroid bodies do not normally return.

There is no treatment necessary for asteroid hyalosis.

Cataract Surgery and Vision Correction Surgery

As you can see in the video, the yellow-white particles are simply suspended harmlessly in the vitreous.  The asteroid bodies actually make it easier to see the gel-like structure of the vitreous.

Cataract surgery may proceed normally in patients with this condition and normal results can be expected.  This is also true in patients undergoing laser vision correction, such as LASIK. There should be not affects from the opacities in the vitreous.

AH is an Anomaly

Asteroid hyalosis is a normal variation.  It does not have any symptoms and does not seem to be connected to a disease process or be related with other symptoms (aka a syndrome).  It is a benign condition which is not heritable.

We look forward to seeing you. If you would like to make an appointment or if you have questions about macular degeneration, please call us.

Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director

Burlington County Eye Physicians
Eye Professionals, LLC (Millville, NJ)
Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Bucks County (Langhorne, PA)