A sudden increase in floaters, with or without flashes, may indicate that the vitreous gel has separated from the back of the eye. This is known as a posterior vitreous separation, and occurs naturally, usually between the ages of 50 and 70. Most of the time when it does occur, no damage results, no treatment is required and the symptoms gradually subside over several weeks. However, in about ten percent of cases it can lead to a tear in the retina which, if not treated, can then lead to a retinal detachment and serious permanent loss of vision.It is imperative that if a tear develops it is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to prevent a detachment from occurring. Retinal tears and detachments can affect anyone, but are more common in nearsighted people and those with a family history of the problem. If diagnosed early, a retinal tear can be treated in the doctor’s office with a laser or freezing treatment.