The Vitreous is a clear gel like substance that fills the back part of the eyeball. The Retina is a light sensitive layer of nervous tissue that lines the back wall of the eye, much like wallpaper. It sends visual signals to the brain, thus helping us to see. The vitreous is attached to the optic nerve and to the retina, with a Velcro like attachment.
As we get older, the vitreous tends to shrink and become more watery. As this process continues, the vitreous eventually collapses and separates away from the retina. This process is called a Posterior Vitreous Detachment or PVD.
PVD is a naturally occurring process. In most cases it is not dangerous, but during the process of PVD, flashes of light or tiny black spots may appear in the vision.
In a few patients, as the vitreous starts to collapse, it may be bound very tightly to the very centre of the retina, called the macula, or to the peripheral part of the retina. These tight adherences may pull on the retina and may lead to more serious conditions such as:
- Retinal Tears
- Retinal Detachment
- Vitreous Haemorrhage
- Macular Hole
- Epiretinal Membrane
- Severe Vitreous Floaters that impair vision.
Many of these conditions can be treated with Vitrectomy Surgery.
If you have symptoms of a PVD, such as flashes of light or floaters, I would recommend that you have an assessment by a Retinal Surgeon, such as myself.