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Retinal Detachment vs. Vitreous Detachment

Posterior vitreous detachmentPosterior vitreous detachment (PVD) occurs when the fibers in your eye’s vitreous layer shrink and condense, causing the vitreous gel to pull on the retina’s surface. This can cause floaters and flashes to appear more frequently in your vision. PVD is a normal age-related phenomenon, but it can potentially lead to a retinal detachment in the future and should be carefully monitored for that reason.

The main difference between a vitreous detachment and retinal detachment is the damage done to the retina. On its own, PVD does not harm vision. As long as the fibers are merely pulling on the retina, the quality of your eyesight should not be affected. Retinal detachment occurs when your retina is lifted away from its normal position at the back wall of your eye. In some cases, this can happen directly after a vitreous detachment.

Think of vitreous detachment as a sticker being pulled off of an envelope. Sometimes, the sticker will come away cleanly, but in other cases, it tears off some of the underlying paper in the process. If your vitreous layer tears the retina when it detaches, this tear can worsen and become a retinal detachment.

If you have recently experienced PVD, pay close attention to your symptoms for any significant changes. A sudden increase in floaters and flashes, or a black shadow/curtain moving across your vision can indicate the onset of retinal detachment, which must be treated immediately in order to preserve your vision.

If you are experiencing floaters and/or flashes, please contact Brooks Eye Associates today or call (972) 736-9347 to schedule an appointment with our experienced Dallas ophthalmologist Dr. Dain Brooks. We serve patients in Plano, Frisco, and throughout Dallas, Texas.