Vitreous Detachment

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What is vitreous detachment?

Most of the eye's interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance. As we age, the vitreous shrinks and separates from the retina. This is a vitreous detachment.

In most cases, a vitreous detachment, also known as a posterior vitreous detachment, is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment.

 

Risk Factors

Who is at risk for vitreous detachment?

A vitreous detachment is a common condition that usually affects people over age 50, and is very common after age 80.

 

Symptoms and Detection

What are the symptoms of vitreous detachment?

As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina that you may notice as floaters.

One symptom of a vitreous detachment is a small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. Another symptom is flashes of light (lightning streaks) in your peripheral vision.

How is vitreous detachment detected?

The only way to diagnose the cause of the problem is by a comprehensive dilated eye examination.

 

Treatment

How does vitreous detachment affect vision?

Although a vitreous detachment does not threaten sight, once in a while some of the vitreous fibers pull so hard on the retina that they create a retinal tear, macular hole, or lead to a retinal detachment. All of these conditions are sight-threatening and should be treated immediately.

 

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