What is vitreous detachment?

Your vitreous is the gel-like substance in between your retina and lens, and is largely responsible for helping the eye maintain its rounded shape. Within the vitreous are fine fibers that connect to the retina. Vitreous detachment occurs when these fibers pull away from your retinal wall.

Is vitreous detachment dangerous?

In the majority of cases, vitreous detachment is not dangerous; however, the visual effects can be annoying. In certain cases, the vitreous gel pulls on the retina and creates the formation of a tear or a hole in the retina. These complications must be addressed with laser or traditional surgery.

What are the risk factors for vitreous detachment?

Age is the largest risk factor for vitreous detachment. Unlike aqueous fluids in the front of your eye, vitreous fluid does not replenish itself. As you age, your vitreous will begin to shrink, making detachment more likely after the age of 50. However, people who are nearsighted may be at a slightly increased risk for earlier detachment. People that get hit in the eye or the head are also at a higher risk of developing vitreous detachment.

What are the symptoms of vitreous detachment?

Common symptoms of vitreous detachment include flashers and floaters, particularly in the peripheral vision field. As the vitreous shrinks, it can form strands that cast shadows on the retina (floaters). These shadows may resemble specks or cobwebs, and they may appear to dart in front of your visual field. A sudden increase of floaters can indicate vitreous detachment.

In many instances, vitreous detachment is asymptomatic, which is not in and of itself a problem, as this condition rarely poses a threat to your vision.

How do you detect vitreous detachment when no symptoms are present?

The doctors at California Retina Associates can detect vitreous detachment through a comprehensive dilated eye examination. Even when vitreous detachment produces no symptoms, it is important to have it detected. While not always a vision-threatening disorder, vitreous detachment can lead to macular holes or retinal detachment, making it an important condition to be aware of.

How is vitreous detachment treated?

If we determine that your condition poses problems due to residual clouding or blood in the vitreous, we may recommend vitreous detachment treatments including lifestyle changes such as sleeping with your head elevated. However, if we detect a problem with your retina in addition to vitreous detachment, retinal detachment treatment may be necessary. This is determined on a case-by-case basis by our experienced eye doctors.

Where can I learn more about vitreous detachment in San Diego?

If you live in or around San Diego and are experiencing any of the symptoms of vitreous or retinal detachment, such as a sudden increase in floaters or flashes of light, you should be screened by our team of retina specialists. We will perform a comprehensive dilated eye exam to diagnose the problem, and then review the available treatment options.

To schedule an appointment, please call (619) 425-7755 or (760) 352-7755, or contact California Retina Associates by email.