Vitreous detachment: causes, consequences and treatment

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The vitreous humor is a gelatinous substance that fills the cavity between the retina and the posterior face of the lens. It is transparent, since it has to let light through the retina and also fulfills other missions, such as maintaining the shape of the eyeball.

As for its composition, the vitreous humor contains water, collagen fibers, hyaluronic acid and some cells, all wrapped by a membrane called hyaloids.

There are circumstances that cause the vitreous humor to become more liquid, which acquires greater mobility and loses the points of attachment or anchorage with the retina, producing vitreous detachment.

Causes of vitreous detachment

Among the main causes that can lead to a vitreous detachment we can highlight the following:

Age, especially after 50 years.
High myopia, also called High Myopia or Myopia Magna.
Trauma or severe eye contusions.
Eye surgery, such as cataract surgery.
Inflammatory processes, as occurs for example with uveitis, which inflammation of the uvea or intermediate layer of the eye.

Symptoms of this eye problem

The symptoms of vitreous detachment that patients refer most frequently are, fundamentally:

Myodesopsias or flying flies:
They are small particles of the gelatinous substance in which the vitreous humor consists and that in this case do not dissolve, but remain floating in its central part. The patient perceives them as dark spots that can take different forms (such as threads, dots, etc.) as a web or web.
These spots appear suddenly when clear areas are looked at and, in addition, they move at the same time as the eyes move so that they remain floating in front of the visual field.
Photopsies or light flashes:
They are like flashes or semi-circular lights that last for seconds and are seen, especially at night or in situations where there is low light.
Blurry vision

Vitreous detachment treatment

Given that vitreous detachment is not serious in itself and usually takes place without major complications, treatment as such is not necessary in principle, although it will in any case require periodic ophthalmologic check-ups to monitor its evolution.

Generally and in response to a process of visual adaptation, after some time the spots are no longer perceived.

In spite of this, if the patient could not tolerate them or were too bothersome, the possibility of performing a vitrectomy could be assessed, which is the technique whose objective is the elimination of all the gelatinous substance from the eye that will be replaced, where appropriate, by a solution transparent and sterile.

However, it can also happen that vitreous detachment causes a hole or tear in the retina. In this case, it will be necessary to intervene with laser in order to create a protective barrier around the affected area.

It is important to know that once the symptoms of vitreous detachment appear in one eye, the risk of presenting in the other is greater.

In short, we can consider early diagnosis as a fundamental element in preventing retinal detachment and, consequently, the production of much more serious consequences for sight than vitreous detachment. In that case, some experts recommend retinal detachment treatment.

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