Retina Specialists Lakeland Winter Haven | What’s a PVD?
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What’s a PVD?

A posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is a natural event, yet is a common cause of retinal tears.  A PVD will happen to everyone as we age and onset is usually sudden.

 

Vitreous and Retina

 

The vitreous, the watery gel that fills the eye, is naturally adherent to the retina.  The retina being the light sensitive tissue which lines the inside of the eye.

 

Light enters the eye and gets focused on the retina.  The retina captures the light and sends signals to our brain via the optic nerve to produce “vision.”

 

The vitreous is not renewed or replenished.

 

As we age, the proteins which make up the gel of the vitreous tend to break down.  As a result, the vitreous becomes more fluid or watery. Cavities of water (think of pockets of air within Swiss cheese) form within the gel.  Eventually the gel collapses on itself causing the posterior vitreous (the vitreous toward the back half of the eye) to pull away, or detach, from the retina.

 

The vitreous usually remains adherent to the retina in the front half of the eye.

 

Symptoms of PVD

 

A posterior vitreous detachment usually causes flashes and floaters.  Not everyone has symptoms.

 

Flashes are a result of the vitreous gently tugging on the retina as the vitreous moves with eye movement.  This tugging can cause a tear.

 

Floaters develop either from a change in the optical qualities of the vitreous (shadows/spots can form due to protein breakdown), bleeding from a retinal tear or migration of cells from under the retina to the vitreous via a retinal tear.

 

There is no way to distinguish the cause of floaters without examination.  The most benign scenario is PVD without a retinal tear.

Florida Retina Consultants | Retina Specialists Lakeland Florida

New Floaters

 

New flashes and floaters in anyone need to be examined looking for a retinal tear.  If a PVD is diagnosed, but no tear is found, repeat examination should be scheduled 6-8 weeks later after the initial onset of symptoms.

Why?  Studies have determined that a patient is at highest risk for developing a retinal tear for the next six weeks following the development of a PVD.

 

Not all tears cause symptoms of flashes and floaters.

 

Florida Retina Consultants recommends:

 

  1. Alert your doctor if you notice new flashes and/or floaters
  2. Get a dilated eye exam
  3. If a PVD is diagnosed, return in 6-8 weeks looking for asymptomatic (not causing symptoms of flashes or floaters) retinal tears or sooner if the patient experiences additional flashes and/or floaters.
  4. Follow your own doctor’s recommendations.

Scott M. Friedman, M.D.
Nader Moinfar, M.D., M.P.H.
Retina Specialists
Florida Retina Consultants

Call to make your appointment today.

A message to our Central Florida community, and referring physicians: we are open and available to evaluate/treat any vitreoretinal emergency, as well as continuing sight-saving intravitreal injections. Please call if you have questions or concerns:

877.245.2020

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