Cause and symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment

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Vitreous change in old people over 65 years old is estimated to cause a condition called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) at a percentage of 75. As a clear jelly-like substance within the eye, the vitreous contains 99% of water and 1% of other substances that are responsible for maintaining its shape and structure. Closely and strongly attached to the retina, the vitreous takes up the space behind the lens and in front of the retina. In patients with PVD, the vitreous humor separates from the retina. Thus the normal and strong link between them is cut. In a sudden case, the vitreous even peels away from the retina.

The reason and common symptoms

Posterior vitreous detachment is caused by natural changes in the vitreous due to aging. The aging process would gradually make the central part of the vitreous to become liquid and its outer part to peel away from the retina. This is the absolute reason for posterior vitreous detachment. In addition, refractive errors may also contribute to the onset of PVD. While many patients have no obvious symptoms, some individuals will experience symptoms such as floaters or flashing lights. The shape of floaters can be dot, circle, line, cloud or even cobweb. Suffering from large floaters, patients with posterior vitreous detachment may have difficulty in performing ordinary tasks such as reading and watching TV. This condition can be very distractive. Differently, the reason for experiencing flashing light is due to the pull of the vitreous which in turn stimulates the retina.

PVD is currently beyond medical treatment

Since those central floaters are extremely distracting and interfering with daily visual function, proper treatments are needed. For most patients, those mentioned symptoms will calm down after about six months. While these patients are thinking that they are lucky, the symptoms have not disappeared in fact. This phenomenon results actually from the ability of the brain to ignore floaters over time. Such kind of an adjustment is not a real treatment for sure. But there is still no good medical procedure to remove visual floaters until now. Surgeries using laser therapy to disrupt floaters should never be encouraged because they involve high risks of damaging the retina.

Be careful of retinal detachment

Fortunately, posterior vitreous detachment itself generally does not cause any permanent visual loss. And visual acuity will also stay intact. Encountering these disruptive floaters, the only thing most patients can do is to allow enough time for the brain to get adapted. However, this disease must be closely monitored. As PVD advances, the retina may be affected and begin to tear at certain points. In a worse case, seriously tearing retina will be separated from the back of the eye, which is exactly the condition of retinal detachment. This is definitely a more severe eye disease, which is on the highest risk during the first six weeks after a vitreous detachment.