Vitreous Detachment

The vitreous humour is surrounded by a membrane that is in contact with the retina and it consists of a tiny transparent skeleton and water which give it its gel-like properties. Over time, this skeleton degenerates and the gel turns into liquid. This degeneration is accelerated by certain conditions such as trauma, inflammations, myopia, cataract surgery. This process (syneresis of the vitreous) is perceived as a progressive increase of black spots or “floaters” which are more visible in brightly lit places.

When the liquefied vitreous breaks through the membrane that surrounds it, the vitreous is detached from the retina. This process is perceived as flashes that are followed by a rapid increase of black spots.

Vitreous detachment will most likely happen to most of us by the age of 80. In a normal eye, this process is completed within 6-8 weeks. In approximately 10% of eyes, this process causes tears on the retina.

Once the symptoms of vitreous detachment appear, a fundoscopy must be performed by an ophthalmologist to look for any tears. If the result of the examination is normal, a repeat examination may be required depending on the findings. The time between repeat examinations will be determined by your ophthalmologist.