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Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) | Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A posterior vitreous detachment or PVD occurs when the vitreous gel within the eye separates from the retina. This change can occur due to age. Find out more about what causes PVD, when to seek professional help, and the treatment options available below.

If you have questions about posterior vitreous detachment and the treatment options that are available, please call us on 0203 369 2020, or request a call back.

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What is posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)?

Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is when the gel-like substance in the eye called the vitreous separates from the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This is a natural change that occurs due to the ageing of the eye.

What causes posterior vitreous detachment?

As a part of the ageing process, the vitreous gel shrinks and becomes more liquid, which can lead to it detaching from the retina.

Those who experience PVD in one of their eyes are more likely to experience it in their other eye.

What are the symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment?

A common symptom of PVD is a sudden increase in eye floaters which are spots that appear to float across your vision. Another symptom is the appearance of flashes or streaks of light in your peripheral or side vision.

If you notice these symptoms, we recommend seeing an eye specialist right away as PVD can lead to more serious eye conditions including retinal detachment and macular hole which are caused by the vitreous pulling on the retina as it detaches.

Treatment for posterior vitreous detachment

If PVD leads to a more serious eye condition, a vitrectomy can be carried out. This process involves removing the vitreous gel and adding a bubble of gas or oil in the eye which helps the retina heal.

Read our vitrectomy page for further details about what happens during and after surgery.

If PVD doesn’t lead to further complications, it’s likely that treatment isn’t required. The symptoms of PVD become less noticeable over time. If floaters continue to bother you and affect your quality of life, a vitrectomy can clear these by removing the vitreous gel from the eye.

 

What to expect after treatment

Learn more about what to expect after a vitrectomy and when you can resume activities like driving, flying, and exercise by visiting our vitrectomy page.

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If you have any questions around posterior vitreous detachment or our service, please feel free to make an enquiry or call us on 0203 369 2020