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What Is Posterior Vitreous Detachment?

Almost everyone has noticed those tiny floaters showing up in their visual field from time to time. Normally they are nothing to be concerned about. The exception is when you begin to see showers of these floaters in your vision all at once. Now is the time to see Retina Specialists of Tampa.

What is posterior vitreous detachment and is it dangerous?

Man with blue eyes and woman with brown eyes next to each other

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Your vitreous is the gel-like substance that makes up your eyeball. It helps to create your eye’s round shape and allows light to pass through your eye to your retina in the back. While a posterior vitreous detachment is not rare, it still should be evaluated by an ophthalmologist.

The fibers of collagen connect the vitreous to the base of your eye as well as to the back (posterior) of your eye where the optic nerve and retina are located.

As we get older, the fibers may degrade, shrink, and liquify allowing the vitreous to shift and move forward to separate from the retina. The result is new floaters caused by the strings of vitreous moving and casting a shadow on the retina. Sometimes there will be flashes of light.

For 85% of patients these symptoms usually go away in a few months, and no further care is needed.

Risk Factors For PVD

There are a number of risk factors for developing posterior vitreous detachment. Most people develop one by age 70.

They include the following:

  • Someone with diabetes
  • Being nearsighted
  • Having a cataract or other eye surgery
  • Having sustained an eye injury

Complications With A Posterior Vitreous Detachment

For most people having a PVD is benign and no treatment is required. However, for some this can develop into a full detachment where the vitreous pulls completely away from the retina and if it pulls too hard, it can take a piece of the retina.

It then becomes a retinal tear or retinal detachment, and the threat of permanent vision loss is real. If you notice a sudden shower of floaters with flashes of light AND a loss of vision, contact Retina Specialists of Tampa as soon as possible. You may be suffering from a retinal tear or retinal detachment.

It is important to have a dilated eye exam with your ophthalmologist each year to check for any issues before they become a problem.

Contact Retina Specialists of Tampa at (813) 973-3333 if you are noticing more floaters than normal.

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