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Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is when the gel-like substance in the eye called the vitreous separates from the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This is a natural change that occurs due to the ageing of the eye but can be brought on sooner by being shortsighted, having any eye surgery, severe trauma, or inflammation.
As a part of the ageing process, the vitreous gel shrinks and becomes more liquid, which can lead to it detaching from the retina.
PVD usually occurs in 70% of people by the age of 70 years but it can also occur earlier, particularly in short-sighted people.
Those who experience PVD in one of their eyes are more likely to experience it in their other eye.
A common symptom of PVD is a sudden increase in eye floaters which are spots that appear to float across your vision. Another symptom is the appearance of flashes or streaks of light in your peripheral or side vision.
If you notice these symptoms, we recommend seeing an eye specialist right away as PVD can lead to more serious eye conditions including retinal tear, retinal detachment, and less commonly macular hole which are caused by the vitreous pulling on the retina as it detaches.
If PVD leads to troublesome floaters, or a more serious eye condition such as retinal detachment, a vitrectomy can be carried out. This process involves removing the vitreous gel and in the case of retinal detachment, adding a bubble of gas or oil in the eye which helps the retina heal.
Read our vitrectomy page for further details about what happens during and after surgery.
If PVD doesn’t lead to further complications, which is usually the case, then treatment isn’t required. The symptoms of PVD become less noticeable over time. If floaters continue to bother you and affect your quality of life, a vitrectomy can clear these by removing the vitreous gel from the eye.
Learn more about what to expect after a vitrectomy and when you can resume activities like driving, flying, and exercise by visiting our vitrectomy page.
If you have any questions around posterior vitreous detachment or our service, please feel free to make an enquiry or call us on 0203 369 2020
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