Help and frequently asked questions

What is vitreous detachment?


Most of the interior of your eye is filled with a gel-like substance also known as vitreous, which helps to keep your eye round. Many of these fibres are attached to the surface of your retina.

What is vitreous detachment?

As we get older, the vitreous jelly in our eyes begins to shrink. This can pull on your retina and if the fibres break, it can cause the vitreous to shrink from the retina, also known as vitreous detachment. This normally affects people over 50 and is more common in those over 80.

What are the symptoms of vitreous detachment?

The sudden appearance of floaters can indicate this condition. This can be anything from a few dark spots to hundreds of floating objects in your field of vision. These can be a sign that your eyes are bleeding inside, or that your retinal tissue has torn and it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. This can be accompanied by a decrease in vision and lightening flashes. It is caused as the vitreous tugs on the retina when you move.If you notice any sudden loss of vision, whether it be your peripheral vision, central vision or both, it is essential to visit your doctor. You may feel like there is a black curtain covering your peripheral vision and coming down from above, below or from the side.

Why do you need to seek medical attention?

Sometimes when the vitreous detaches it can cause a retinal tear, which can lead to blindness. As this can happen weeks after the onset of your symptoms it is important to get checked by your optometrist four to six weeks later. Most people have no great problems after a posterior vitreous detachment, although if you notice anything out of the usual, it is important to visit your optometrist. As time goes on, your vitreous will liquefy further and you should begin to notice fewer floaters.