A posterior vitreous detachment is a separation of the vitreous gel from the inner back wall of the eye and is usually associated with floaters and flashing lights. Liquefaction of the vitreous gel is usually an age related change that continues until the vitreous separates from the retina to which it is loosely attached. The vast majority of PVDs do not cause problems except annoying floaters and sometimes brief flashes of light. Improvement in symptoms is usually seen within a few months. Occasionally retinal tears can occur from a PVD. Retinal tears can lead to a detached retina if the retina tear is not treated. There is no way to tell if a PVD caused a retinal tear so if someone has symptoms of a PVD, they need a prompt dilated retinal exam.
Floaters are cobwebs, strings, or speck-like objects that float in the field of vision. They may occur from any opacity within the vitreous gel that casts a shadow on the retina. They are usually black and may float in and out of view. Floaters can be an indicator that the gel-like vitreous is liquefying, which is a normal ageing process but can also reflect inflammation, infection, or bleeding within the eye or be related to systemic diseases.
The vitreous is a gel-like substance that fills the back cavity of the eye and is loosely attached to the retina.
The retina is the delicate, light-sensitive tissue that covers the interior wall of the eye. Like the film in a camera, it receives images projected through the lens of the eye. The retina then sends these images to your brain through the optic nerve. When the retina is damaged, your vision may become impaired. Damage to the retina may be caused by injury, illness or as a result of aging.
Retinal specialists are eye physicians and surgeons who focus on diseases in the back of the eye such as macular degeneration, diabetic disease, retinal detachment, eye trauma and intraocular infection. Our physicians are medical doctors have completed many years of training in diseases and surgery of the eye including a 3 year ophthalmology residency followed by a 2 year vitreoretinal fellowship.