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Posterior vitreous detachment

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Inside of the eye there is a gel called the vitreous. It fills the inside of the eye and is surrounded by a membrane which normally rests on the retina.  The retina is the part of the eye that we see with. In many people, especially after the age of 55, this gel will break down and began to shrink.  As it does, the vitreous and the membrane that surrounds it will pull away from the retina.  Usually the process is relatively harmless.  Often you will see floaters which are small chunks of the membrane which are detached and floating inside the eye.  Occasionally problems can occur.

The most common problem aside from the annoyance of the floaters is a retinal tear.  Sometimes when the membrane that surrounds the vitreous pulls away from the retina, it will tear off a piece of the retina.  If this happens you may notice flashes of light in the side of your vision.  If you've had a vitreous detachment you should be aware of the signs of retinal tear.  These would include:

1. Flashes of light in the side of your vision.

2. Showers of light anywhere in your vision.

3. Shadows in the side of your vision.

If you do notice any of these symptoms, call Dr. Mitnick immediately.  Although retinal tears are an unusual complication, they are potentially serious and even site threatening.

There is no treatment for vitreous detachment.  Anything that could be done to rid you of the annoyance of the floaters, would be much more trouble than it's worth.  You can take comfort in knowing that other than the unusual complication of retinal tear, a posterior vitreous detachment is usually not a serious problem.  The floater often will in time settle to the bottom of your eye where you will not see it anymore.