The posterior segment of the human eye houses the homogenously transparent gel, the vitreous humour, which contributes to intraocular clarity, eyeball shape and intraocular pressure.
With aging, the vitreous body undergoes a slow degenerative process which leads to structural changes (e.g. crosslinking, glycosylation) and cleavage of the vitreous collagen fibres.
As the fibres lose their surface coating or are partially cleaved, they tend to aggregate progressively and form opaque clumps within the vitreous. When these opacities (floaters) migrate into the visual axis, they cast shadows on the retina and can cause intermittent blurred vision, glare sensitivity and haze.
Also, the visual system can misinterpret them as moving objects; floating cobwebs, flies or even small birds. This entoptic phenomenon is termed floaters.
Floaters limit visual function and negatively impact on the health-related quality of life of its sufferers. There is a growing body of evidence from observational studies indicating an inverse relationship between vitreous degeneration and vitreous antioxidant potential, signifying the importance of the antioxidant status of the vitreous gel for the wellbeing of the vitreous body and the entire globe.
As floaters are thought to be a result of a reduced vitreous antioxidant potential and/or a disturbed connective tissue metabolism, an intervention with food supplements comprising water-soluble antioxidants, modulators of the glycation of collagen, and inhibitors of connective tissue degrading enzymes, is a potential option to treat symptomatic floaters.
Floater Intervention Study (FLIES) is a registered (ISRCTN15605916), double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized interventional trial which was conducted to investigate if supplementation with VitroCap N® reduces visual disturbances associated with vitreous floaters. Currently, the trial has ended but the findings of this trial are yet to be disseminated. Any interests or queries on this project should be directed to Emmanuel Ankamah, OD.