Did you know that people over the age of 50 face a greater risk of developing posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)? If you fall into this risk category, take some time to learn about what this vision condition is, what symptoms to look for, and what treatment is available.
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What Is Vitreous Detachment?
Vitreous is a gel-like fluid in your eye containing microscopic fibers that attach to the retina—the part of your eye that senses light. As you age, those tiny fibers detach from the retina and cause vision issues.
PVD is most common in patients over 50 years old, particularly those over 60 years of age. People with vitreous detachment may or may not notice symptoms. That’s why routine eye exams are essential to maintain healthy vision.
What Causes Vitreous Detachment?
The vitreous gel becomes more liquid and shrinks in volume over time, causing it to fill less space in the eye. When this shrinking occurs, the vitreous pulls away from the retina. This separation from the retina progresses over time until the vitreous is only attached to the retina in one small place.
Common risk factors for PVD include:
- Being over 50 years of age
- Having myopia (nearsightedness)
- Already having vitreous detachment in one eye
- Having suffered from a previous eye injury
- Having undergone eye surgery
- Having diabetes
Top Two Symptoms of Vitreous Detachment
Most symptoms caused by PVD are mild, some so much so that they go unnoticed. Most symptoms only become noticeable when the condition causes further vision-related complications. Below are the two most common symptoms that PVD causes.
Floaters are small spots or lines that “float” across your vision. These floaters are actually shadows cast by the vitreous fiber strands that have detached from the retina.
The detached fibers can also create sporadic flashes of light in your peripheral vision.
Other Problems That Vitreous Detachment Can Cause
In addition to floaters and flashes, vitreous detachment can cause more serious vision problems. If you experience any of the conditions described below, seek medical treatment immediately to protect your vision.
- Retinal Tear: When the vitreous fibers detach from the retina, they can tear small holes. If left untreated, this vitreous detachment symptom can cause retinal detachment which is a more serious condition.
- Retinal Detachment: Retinal detachment occurs when the retina pulls away from the blood vessel layer that provides the eye with oxygen and nourishment. Retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.
- Macular Hole: Vitreous detachment can also create holes in the macula, which is the part of the retina in control of your central vision.
- Macular Pucker: Besides creating holes in the macula, vitreous detachment can also cause a thin scar tissue layer to grow over it.
Treatment Options for Vitreous Detachment
Your doctor will start by administering a dilated eye exam to determine whether you have PVD. Once the condition is diagnosed, you likely won’t receive any treatment. That’s because PVD only results in permanent vision loss when it causes further vision-related complications, which are rare in most causes. In other words, PVD can’t be treated directly. Only the conditions it causes—like retinal detachment—have available treatments.
Vitreous Detachment Diagnosis & Treatment at Specialty Eye Institute
The best way to stay on top of your vision health is to schedule a dilated eye exam. From PVD to glaucoma, these comprehensive exams detect vision conditions in their early stages so you can seek necessary treatment as soon as possible. Schedule your next eye exam with the vision experts at Specialty Eye Institute to get the quality care you deserve.