Condition: Posterior vitreous detachment 2017-10-11T09:42:48+00:00

Posterior vitreous detachment Overview

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There is currently no treatment for PVD, however it is important to have your eyes examined to check for more serious conditions.

Posterior vitreous detachment

What is a Posterior vitreous detachment?

Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), while causing some unpleasant symptoms, does not normally result in sight loss. With age, the eye’s shape changes and the transparent vitreous gel filling the eye loses its rigidity. As a result the vitreous slowly moves forwards, away from the retina at the back of the eye.

Treatment

There is currently no treatment for PVD, however it is important to have your eyes examined to check for more serious conditions.

If PVD is confirmed, it is usually just a matter of time before symptoms improve. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year but they usually settle after around six months. If it takes longer than six months it is not an indication of a problem, but if concerned, a follow up appointment is recommended.

PVD alone does not cause any loss of vision. In fact, the brain learns to ignore flashers/floaters over time and vision in most cases returns to normal.

Video: What is the vitreous and what is the retina?

Examination for Posterior vitreous detachment

A full examination is performed by the ophthalmologist. This includes instilling drops to dilate the pupils to allow examination of the vitreous and the retina. These drops will blur vision for around six hours and driving or operating heavy machinery is to be avoided until the effects have worn off.

A slit lamp (microscope) is used to examine the eye and check for retinal tears or holes.

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Symptoms

PVD can cause the following symptoms:

  • Floaters (dark spots moving across the vision especially against a clear sky or white wall)
  • Flashers (small flashes of light)
  • A cobweb effect across the vision

One or all of these symptoms may be present and vary in intensitiy. If any of these symptomsare present, the eyes should be fully examined by an oculoplastic surgeon. If any of the following symptoms occur, immediate examination should be sought:

  • Sudden appearance of floaters or increase in size/number
  • Flashes of light/change or increase in flashing lights
  • Blurred vision
  • A dark curtain moving across your vision (this may indicate partial retinal detachment)

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