Posterior Vitreous Separation

Retinal Consultants of Arizona Presents – Posterior Vitreous Detachment

A posterior vitreous separation occurs when the vitreous gel begins to shrink and pull away from the retina as we age. This process is more common in patients that are highly myopic (near-sighted), are older than 60 years of age, or have had intraocular surgery or injections. There is no way to prevent a posterior vitreous separation from occurring. When the vitreous separates from the retina, floaters are often noticeable. Floaters are small opaque parts of the vitreous that cast a shadow on the retina. Patients often become aware of flashing lights when the vitreous tugs on the retina during its separation from the retina. When tugging or traction on the retina is severe, a retinal tear or retinal detachment can develop. Any patient with sudden new onset of floaters or flashes should have their retina examined to determine the cause and ensure that proper treatment is initiated.

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