Posterior vitreous detachment

The majority of your eye is filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called vitreous that fills the eye and helps maintain its shape.  As we age, portions of the vitreous may dry or gel together in clumps, and we often see these clumps as floaters that dart in and out of our vision.  Portions of the vitreous substances are attached to the retina through tiny fibers, and as we age, there is a risk that a portion of the vitreous will pull away from the retina.  This is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).

A PVD does not float throughout your visual field like a floater.   It stays in one place and can be a fairly noticeable visual disturbance.  For some patients, the PVD will repair itself and the visual disturbance will go away.  For others, the PVD is a permanent problem, although patients often adapt to PVDs and forget about them.

PVDs are typically occur in patients over age 50, and are quite common for patients over 80.  PVDs are not treated unless they cause a more serious problem.  However, a PVD can pull so hard on the retina that is causes a retinal detachment, macular hole or macular pucker.  In those situations, immediate surgical repair is warranted.