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Eye diseases

Vitreous detachment

Desprendimiento de vítreo
Floaters and flashes are typical symptoms.
It is usually linked to ageing.
It may precede a retinal detachment.

What is vitreous detachment?

Vitreous detachment is a disorder which is caused by the deterioration of the gelatinous consistency of the fluid that fills the inside of the eyeball.

When the vitreous humour becomes more liquid than normal and loses its firmness, it ends up “collapsing”. As a result, the hyaloid membrane that surrounds it separates from the layer it is attached to, the retina, which may cause a break in this tissue that lines the inside of the eye.

Vitreous detachment does not hurt, whereas the main signs you may notice, if it has occurred, are floaters or small black spots moving in the visual field, as well as flashes of light that last a few seconds and are perceived especially at night or in dimly lit environments.

If these symptoms appear or increase suddenly, we recommend not delaying your visit to the ophthalmologist. Although vitreous detachment is usually not serious, sometimes it may precede a retinal detachment, if the vitreous gel pulls and tears the retinal tissue. In these cases, Miranza’s specialists stress that it is essential to perform an emergency surgery.

Generally, vitreous detachment is a process associated with ageing; thus, it is more common after the age of 50. However, there are other causes and risk factors that may cause or multiply the risk of suffering from it:

Vitreous detachment associated with ageing is usually not serious and generally does not require specific treatment. Nonetheless, it is recommended that you see a specialist regularly to closely monitor the evolution of your symptoms and prevent possible complications. Moreover, if you have vitreous detachment in one eye, it is more likely that it will also occur in the other eye.

Sometimes the floaters associated with vitreous detachment may not dissolve over time (something that happens in a third of patients after 6 months) and significantly interfere with your vision. In these persistent, severe and especially annoying cases, we may assess the need to perform a treatment with laser vitreolysis or a vitrectomy.

A vitrectomy is also indicated if the vitreous detachment is accompanied by severe bleeding or if it results in retinal detachment.