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Below are links to pages that speak to diseases, conditions, treatments and procedures that we commonly see in the field of retina specialty. While many of the diseases we treat or services we provide are not listed, we are continually adding to this section to provide further educational materials to improve your health care experience.
What is Posterior Vitreous Detachment ( PVD )
The eye is like a hollow ball. The white sclera lines the outer wall of the eyeball whose inner surface is lined by the retina. The retina is the tissue, which acts as the film of the eye translating light images into electrical information, which the brain can comprehend.
The hollow space is filled with a clear jelly – the vitreous. The vitreous is attached to the anterior portion of the retina and to the optic nerve as it enters the eye from the brain.
As the eye ages, the vitreous shrinks. At some point the vitreous will suddenly separate from its attachment to the optic nerve. Despite this posterior detachment, it still remains attached to the anterior retina. The vitreous can now move more freely and there is increased tension on the remaining attachments to the anterior retina.
The only way the retina responds to any stimulus is by telling the brain that there is light. This tension appears as light flashes way out in the side vision area. The concern is that the vitreous may tug hard enough to create a tear in the retina.
The patient may see dark black floaters when a tear forms, as pigment under the retina is released into the vitreous. A tear can progress into a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment appears as a peripheral dark curtain that usually progresses to involve the total vision area.
Laser or cryotherapy can be applied to surround the tear, preventing its progression to a retinal detachment. Therefore, it is very important to examine the retina if flashing lights or multiple dark black floaters appear.
With the posterior vitreous detachment, it is very common to notice a “spider” or “hair” at or near the center of the vision area. This floater may cause blurred vision. This represents the old attachments to the optic nerve, which are thicker than the normally clear vitreous gel.
These floaters will usually settle out of the way within a few weeks or months after the posterior vitreous detachment. The light streaks in the peripheral vision may also persist for several weeks or months. If no retinal tears occur, the eye will tolerate its new state well. The vitreous will not reattach itself nor is any further treatment required.