Posterior vitreous detachment is another name for vitreous detachment, an age-related condition wherein the vitreous fluid of the eye, a jelly-like substance that helps keep the shape of the eye round, becomes more liquid-like. Inside the vitreous fluid are microscopic fibers attached to the retina, and as the vitreous fluid shrinks, these fibers pull on the retina and eventually detach themselves. The only method of treatment is careful observation to ensure that a retinal tear or detachment does not occur.
The primary symptom of posterior vitreous detachment is eye floaters. Eye floaters are the stringy remnants of the shrunken vitreous fluid interfering with the field of vision. They appear as light shadows or outlines that quickly move when an attempt to look at them is made. if you already suffer from floaters, a sudden increase in their number may be indicative of vitreous detachment. This may be accompanied by brief flashes of light not unlike lightening out of the periphery (corner) of the eye.
Given its age-related nature, treatment is relegated to careful observation to make sure the condition does not lead to retinal detachment. Over time the floaters become easily tolerated, and eventually sink to the bottom of the field of vision. Eventually your brain simply learns to live with them, and they often only become a nuisance in bright light.
Posterior vitreous detachment is a relatively common and harmless condition, affecting close to seventy-five percent of those above the age of seventy-five.
Should the vitreous pull to strongly on the retina, it may detach or tear and lead to serious complications. If the basic symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment become severe, or if it looks like a "curtain" is coming down over your eyes, a doctor should be consulted immediately, as this could be a sign of retinal detachment. Treatment for a retinal tear or detachment is always surgery.