This informational website is sponsored and copyrighted by the Helen Keller Foundation


Severe floaters constitute Degenerative Vitreous Syndrome (DVS)

Robert E. Morris, MD

Vitreoretinal Surgeon

Floaters are opacities that usually appear spontaneously in the field of vision of one or both eyes. They can intermittently obstruct central vision or appear as false objects moving in the peripheral visual field.

Floaters are in fact opacities in the vitreous gel that fills the eye posteriorly, between the lens and the retina (Figure). As a normal part of aging, the vitreous gel “shrinks” and spontaneously separates from the retina. It then begins to move with eye, head, or body movements, floating in the water-like fluid called aqueous that is constantly produced within the eye. Any opacities in the now-mobile vitreous gel cast shadows on the underlying retina and are seen as floaters of various sizes and shapes, easily mistaken for real objects, as one DVS sufferer describes here:

“I am continually seeing things that are not there. I move the hair that isn’t in front of my face. I search for the insect or small animal that never existed. I turn my head to speak to the person who didn’t approach me. And I stop to allow the mythical car to pass before I walk across the street.” MJK, DVS sufferer. 

Symptoms and Psychological Experiences of DVS Patients

Kalen Swanson, MSW
Retired Psychotherapist, Recovered DVS patient


Robert E. Morris, MD
Vitreoretinal Surgeon

“Patients become hopeful when they hear of a possible surgical correction, sometimes after suffering from such symptoms for many years. Soon after surgery to remove DVS opacities, most patients report an almost immediate return of clear vision and are quickly able to return to their normal level of functioning. ”

The Floater Stories

Hear directly from some of our patients.

Black & White, or Gray?

Vitreous Opacity Vitrectomy
for Degenerative Vitreous
Syndrome (DVS)
Let’s Talk About “Floaters” 

Winner of the 2007 Buckler Award for Best Video Presented by the American Society of Retina Specialists


If you feel you have DVS, it would be helpful for you to complete the questionnaire below and submit it to your own eye doctor.

To aid the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education’s research, kindly also consider submitting a copy of your questionnaire by clicking the “Send Message” link below.

Your questionnaire will be used for educational purposes and will remain anonymous. The Foundation will not sell your questionnaire, nor will it sell or share your personal information.


Based on the legacy of Helen Keller, the Foundation strives to prevent blindness and deafness by advancing research and education.

All patients were treated at Retina Specialists of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. RSA is pleased to assist the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education in providing this informational website.

Vitreoretinal surgeons treating Degenerative Vitreous Syndrome (DVS or extensive floaters) at RSA include:

Drs. Robert Morris, Mathew Sapp, Matthew Oltmanns, and Matthew West.

Dr. Robert Morris

Dr. Robert Morris

Dr. Mathew Sapp

Dr. Mathew Sapp

Dr. Matthew Oltmanns

Dr. Matthew Oltmanns

Dr. Matthew West

Dr. Matthew West


© 2022 Floater Stories