Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) is a common condition that occurs in about 75 percent of people over the age of 65.

As people get older the vitreous, a jelly-like substance inside the eye, changes. This can cause a PVD. Many people are not aware that they have developed a PVD but some notice symptoms such as “floaters” or “flashes”. Floaters may appear to be little dots, circles, lines, clouds, or cobwebs, or perhaps one large floater. Flashes occur when the vitreous pulls on the light-sensitive retina. PVD does not in itself cause permanent vision loss. The only threat to vision is the small chance of a retinal tear leading to retinal detachment, which rarely occurs.

What causes it?

The vitreous humor fills the eye behind the lens. It is attached to the retina. Over time the vitreous changes, shrinking and developing liquefied pockets. Similar to the way a gelatin dessert shrinks, or detaches from the edge of the pan over time. In rare cases, the vitreous may peel away from the retina, causing a tear or detachment.

How is it treated?

There is no treatment for PVD. Usually people find that the symptoms calm down after about 6 months and you will likely adjust to the floaters. You should come to our office for a comprehensive eye exam at the time you notice floaters or flashes, and you eye doctor will assess whether you are at risk for a retinal tear or detachment.

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for PVD, as the condition is a natural part of the aging process. Most of the time, it does not cause vision loss.