Posterior Vitreous Detachment

When we are born we have a gel-like substance called vitreous that fills the eye and is firmly attached to the back wall of the eye, the retina. As we age the vitreous in our eyes begins to liquefy and shrink. This is a normal aging process that occurs inside the eye. When the vitreous shrinks enough, it will pull away from the retina during a process called Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). Symptoms of a PVD include:  

  • Floaters – blurry moving dots, cobwebs, or floating strings in vision 
  • Flashes – streaks of light or lightning flashes usually in peripheral vision  

These symptoms usually become less intense over several weeks as the process completes. In most cases, you will not notice a vitreous detachment, or have a slight annoyance with the presence of new floaters. A vitreous detachment does not threaten sight; however, it can occasionally lead to further ocular related issues. Sometimes the vitreous gel is so strongly attached and pull away with such force on the retina that it can lead to a retinal tear, macular hole, or retinal detachment. Or rarely it can pull on a blood vessel and cause bleeding inside the eye, called vitreous hemorrhage. 

All these potential complications can be treated if caught soon enough. If a retinal tear is found for example, it can often to be treated with a laser procedure in office to prevent a retinal detachment. Our doctors will thoroughly explain all treatment options available and answer all questions. If a Posterior Vitreous Detachment causes further complications, it’s vital to see an ophthalmologist for proper care and instructions. 

Posterior vitreous detachment is an on-going process that can take up to 3 months to complete. During this process you will be periodically checked by the physicians at Retina Specialist of Michigan to make sure the vitreous detaches from the retina without complications. Once released from our care, always remember we are a phone call away if any new symptoms arise in the future.