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Posterior vitreous detachment
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zubenelgenubi posted:
Recently I experienced noticing flashes of arcs of light in my right eye. Some time afterwards, I had numerous dark floaters in my vision. I was told by my optomologist it was "posterior vitreous detachment" and tried to reassure me it was not a retinal issue. He took several retinal photographs and said the retina was OK. However other than telling me to be aware and on the watch for any blurriness or "wrinkling" effects in my vision, there was nothing else to do. I am left with these annoying and distracting floaters and am fearful of a reoccurance with further consequences. The doctor offered no explanation other than "age of my eye" (45-65 being the age period for this type of condition to occur). Is there any other cause of this event and what is the usual prognosis for future occurrances or futher problems related to it?
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Alan M Kozarsky, MD responded:
Please my previous discussion on floaters for background information. The vitreous gel which fills most of the back of the eye contracts with age which commonly leads to a posterior vitreous detachment (annoying, harmless floater) but the same process can result in vision threatening retinal tears and detachment.

For you, it is vitally important to make sure that you don't have a retinal tear in addition to your posterior vitreous detachment. This is the difference between having a self limited annoying problem versus one which can lead to a retinal detachment. An exam technique called indirect ophthalmoscopy with scleral depression is required to make this determination. Retina photos may miss small peripheral retinal tears which can be found with indirect ophthalmoscopy. This exam is performed with expertise by most but not all all eye doctors. If any doubt, a retina specialist should take a look.


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