Many eye issues are widely known to affect people, such as refraction problems or cataracts. However, one that is just as common but far less renowned is a posterior vitreous detachment. While it doesn’t typically cause vision loss or pain, the condition will still distort your vision slightly and may even lead to more severe symptoms in case of complications. Research and studies by eye doctors have attributed its cause to aging, and we will examine how this happens in this blog.
What is posterior vitreous detachment?
Posterior vitreous detachment, also known as PVD, is a natural change that occurs as you grow old. Your eyes are filled with a clear gel-like substance called the vitreous. It helps your eye keep its shape and is primarily composed of water and the protein collagen. When the vitreous detaches itself from the retina and moves towards the center of the eye, this condition occurs.
How is it affected by age?
As mentioned before, it is a natural change attributed to aging. When you grow older, the vitreous condenses and becomes watery and less gel-like. Due to it being soft, it will become unable to hold its shape, detaching from the retina and shrinking. The retina is the part of the eye responsible for capturing light and converting it into brain signals. It can do this even without the vitreous being attached to it; therefore, your eyesight will not be significantly affected.
However, you will see floaters and flashes. The former are blurry shadow-like specks that constantly move around. The latter are streaks of light, typically located at the sides. Both obscure your vision but are more of an inconvenience than a severe problem.
The process of PVD can usually last from anywhere between a few weeks to months, and the symptoms will be persistent throughout this time. However, gradually they will decrease in intensity and calm down, becoming less noticeable. This is because in addition to your brain learning to ignore the minor distortions, your body releases new fluid to fill the gap. Therefore, if there is no sign of the symptoms worsening during check-ups, there is usually nothing to worry about.
The condition typically occurs in those above 50 years old; however, there are cases where it happens to people in their 40s, especially if they have an existing eye condition. As the condition usually resolves itself, you do not have to be overly anxious. However, you must keep an eye out for potential complications. While these are very rare, they can still occur.
During detachment, sometimes the retina can tear, causing significant vision loss and pain. If left untreated, the retina can become completely detached and require urgent treatment to preserve your eyesight. Therefore, if you observe any discomfort or impairment to your vision, you need to have your eyes examined immediately.
Ultimately, as terrifying as a posterior vitreous detachment may sound, it is simply a natural part of your aging process. However, you should not ignore the signs as there can still be potential complications. Therefore, we recommended having your eyes examined at our eye clinic to ensure that the condition is not worsening.