Posterior Vitreous Detachment: All You Need to Know About It

Posterior Vitreous Detachment: All You Need to Know About It

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD): among all the different conditions that older adults in the UK face regularly, none are as pressing yet relatively unknown as this specific sickness. 

This condition, which currently affects more than 75 per cent of senior citizens (or those over the age of 65) in the United Kingdom, requires utmost care and preparation. When the necessary preparation is not properly accounted for and carried out, PVD can severely compromise the quality of life that you or a loved one will have.  

Understanding the vitreous itself

The vitreous gel is a substance that is primarily composed of water (or exactly 99 per cent water) that is situated in the middle of the retina and the inner lens of the eye.

As it is located in the middle centre of the eyeball, this specific substance fills the space through which light passes, the stretch found between the lens of the eye and the retina behind it. With its jelly-like structure, the vitreous gel hooks onto the surface of the retina with its millions of fine fibres without the need for or use of blood vessels.

You may not know of the vitreous gel in your eye (well, until you read this guide), but it’s one of the primary reasons you see “floaters” in your vision from time to time. The visual oddity that billions of people around the world experience is linked to the experience wherein specific substances like connective tissue and clumps of cell enter the vitreous, resulting in a visual effect. 

In terms of its composition, the vitreous contains different substances and compounds that allow it to carry out different processes related to maintaining one’s sense of sight. The most common compounds that you can find in the vitreous include (but are not limited to): 

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Hyalocytes that reprocess the hyaluronic acid
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Salts
  • Sugars
  • Vitronectin (a type of collagen)
  • A network of collagen type II fibres
  • An array of proteins in micronutrients
  • Phagocytes (cells that remove waste cellular material over time)

What is PVD?

Best described as a jelly-like substance, the vitreous humor—as it’s alternatively called—is biologically engineered to become even more liquid over time. 

The thin membrane in the vitreous is primarily responsible for the liquefaction because it is a gelatinous substance that thins with age. When this gelatinous substance ages over time and loses its structural integrity, the ability of the part to maintain a constant pressure to keep the eyeball’s shape in place is compromised. 

When the eye begins to experience the effects of PVD, anyone suffering from the condition will begin to feel a certain strain on the connective tissue and fibres of the eyes. 

Once this problem persists and inflicts damage on the eyeball itself, the biggest risk to watch out for is a full deter or detachment of the connective tissue and fibres from the retina. In certain cases, a partial tear will occur and the constant pulling force caused by the attached weight will eventually create a macula hole and a tear in the retina or retinal blood vessel! 

What are the symptoms and what should you do after?

Generally, PVD often goes without the experience of warning signs or certain sensations that can be expected with classical conditions in the eyes. However, you can spot an early case of the condition by watching out for these specific signs:

  • A sudden detachment of the vitreous from the retina area, causing flashes and/or floaters that look like lightning or electric sparks; symptoms may last days to weeks
  • A sudden increase in the number of floaters
  • The sudden ring of floaters to the temporal side of vision (toward the ears)

Once you or a loved one begins to experience these signs, it’s best to get in touch with Skopticians’ resident opticians for immediate treatment to remedy the effects caused by the condition! 


Among the different visual conditions that any elderly person can experience, one of the most mystified yet pressing experiences is posterior vitreous attachment (PVD). With the help of this guide, you are now better equipped to manage the condition and ensure that no unwanted experiences or complications take place!

Are you looking for opticians in Essex? Look no further because our team of experts and independent opticians is here for you. We offer services like eye examinations, cataract surgery, retinal imaging and more. Get in touch with us for a free consultation today!

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