What is a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)?


A posterior vitreous detachment or PVD occurs when the vitreous gel that fills the eye cavity separates from the retina. The retina, a thin layer of nerve tissue, is responsible for detecting light. The retina turns the detected light into images.

PVD is an age-related occurrence, rarely affecting people under the age of 40. The majority of patients with PVD are 60 years of age or older.

PVD Symptoms

What are PVD symptoms?

When the vitreous gel separates from the retina, there are typically two symptoms that people report having–floaters and/or flashes of light.

  • Floaters – A PVD causes dark specks of gray or black in your vision. These could be new occurrences or an increase in number because of the detachment.
  • Flashes of light – Following a PVD, people report seeing flashes of light, typically at the side of their vision. These flashes are more noticeable in dark settings.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your eye care professional immediately for a diagnosis and to rule out other complications of the eye.

Our Specialist

How Is PVD Diagnosed?

In most cases, a posterior vitreous detachment can be diagnosed with a painless, dilated eye exam. Your eyecare provider will administer drops to your eye to dilate the pupil and then look inside with a lighted instrument. Sometimes additional testing is needed in which case your doctor may use optical coherence tomography (OCT) or ocular ultrasound.

It is vital that you see an eye specialist as soon as possible if you experience any symptoms. If floaters and flashers are accompanied by blurry vision or vision loss, it could be a sign of complications.


Can a Posterior Vitreous Detachment lead to vision loss?

PVD usually doesn’t cause vision loss, unless you have other complications such as:


What is the Treatment of PVD?

No specific treatment is needed for PVD. Floaters and flashes of light usually subside on their own.

Although complications of PVD are rare, they can be serious. It is important to keep all follow-up appointments with your eye specialist.


Referrals to Lehigh Eye Specialists

If you’ve been referred to Lehigh Eye Specialists for a suspected posterior vitreous detachment, you are in good hands. Our highly skilled retina specialists will ensure a comfortable and thorough exam of your eyes and answer all of your questions. You can expect a warm welcome from our entire team. 

In preparation for your appointment, we invite you to get to know us and visit our Patient Portal page.

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