Asteroid Hyalosis

Leonid Skorin, Jr, DO

Numerous floaters in the vitreous of both eyes were noted during routine ophthalmologic examination of a 67-year-old woman. The patient had no symptoms from the floaters. Her ocular and medical histories were noncontributory.

Numerous floaters in the vitreous of both eyes were noted during routine ophthalmologic examination of a 67-year-old woman. The patient had no symptoms from the floaters. Her ocular and medical histories were noncontributory.

These floaters represent asteroid hyalosis; the lesions are composed of calcium and phosphorus with intertwined ribbons of multilaminar membranes that are characteristic of lipids. They appear as small, whitish to yellowish spheroids; occasionally hundreds may be found in the vitreous gel. The cause of asteroid hyalosis is unknown; one theory holds that they may be related to aging collagen.

Dr Leonid Skorin, Jr, of Dixon, Ill, notes that most patients who have asteroid hyalosis are asymptomatic. Their vision is not affected because these floaters are small and scattered throughout the vitreous body, allowing light to pass around the tiny opacities. No treatment is necessary.