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Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) is a common condition that occurs in about 75% of people over the age of 65. As we age the vitreous (a jelly-like substance) inside the eye changes and can lead to a Posterior Vitreous Detachment. It is important to remember that PVD is essentially a harmless condition although with some disturbing symptoms and does not normally threaten sight.

What causes it?

The jelly-like substance of the vitreous changes with age. The central part of the vitreous becomes more liquid and the outer part (cortex) peels away from the retina. As it comes away from the retina it can cause the symptoms of Posterior Vitreous Detachment.


  • Floaters can take many forms from little dots, circles, lines, to clouds or cobwebs. Sometimes people experience one large floater, which can be distracting and make things difficult to read.

  • The flashing lights that occur are also caused by the vitreous traction on the retina when it is separating.

Posterior vitreous Detachment.jpg

“This image was originally published in the Retina Image Bank® website.

Author: John S. King, MD. Photographer: Macey Highfill, RN. Weiss Ring. Retina Image Bank. 2019; 28789. © the American Society of Retina Specialists."


PVD is non-sight-threatening and after 3 months the symptoms usually subside in the vast majority of patients. No specific treatment is needed for PVD. That said, complications of PVD are rare but can be serious and require urgent treatment, such as laser for a retinal tear or surgery for a retinal detachment.

Therefore, the Annan Retina Eye Center recommends a checkup within days of the inception of PVD. In rare cases, the floaters from PVD may persist, and you may require vitrectomy surgery to remove the floaters.

To learn more about treatment options relating to Posterior Vitreous Detachment please schedule a visit with Dr El Annan at the Annan Retina Eye Center. Please call 346-22A-NNAN to speak to a member of staff who will be more than happy to help you.

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