Vitreous Detachment (Posterior Vitreous Detachment; PVD)


The eye contains a jelly-like liquid we call "vitreous." It fills the eye, and helps it keep its shape. But with this condition, the vitreous separates from the back of the eye. This can harm the layer of light-sensitive cells we call the "retina." It can affect your vision.


Why does the vitreous separate from the retina? In most cases, it's linked to aging. As we age, the vitreous slowly shrinks. It begins to pull away from the retina. Fine fibers connect the vitreous to the retina. As the vitreous pulls away, these fibers tug on the retina. Sometimes, this tugging harms the retina.


You can have a vitreous detachment and not have any symptoms. Or, you may notice a sudden increase in floaters. Those are small dark spots or squiggles that float through your field of vision. And if you see flashes of light, or if part of your visual field is blocked, the detachment may have caused a hole or a tear to form in your retina. This can lead to a detached retina, which is a serious condition.


For most cases of vitreous detachment, no treatment is needed. But if you think your retina has been damaged, see your doctor immediately to avoid permanent vision loss. Your doctor will let you know the best way to treat your vision problem.