Skip to main content

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

What is posterior vitreous detachment or PVD?

As we age, the gel inside our eyes gradually liquifies and shrinks and may separate from the back of the eye. This process is called posterior vitreous detachment or PVD.

This commonly affects people over the age of 60 years and is more common as we get older. They may occur at a younger age in people who are short-sighted or have other eye conditions.


When posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) occurs, people may see:

  • Flashing light flickers in the periphery of your vision. This usually occurs when the gel pulls on the light-sensitive tissue of the retina.
  • Black floaters in your vision (debris in the vitreous).

What happens after posterior vitreous detachment?

Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is harmless and no treatment is needed. There is nothing you can do to prevent it as it is a part of the natural ageing process.  The flashing lights gradually settle over the next few weeks. The floaters usually become less noticeable over time or your brain may get adapted to them.

In a few cases of posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), the separated vitreous may pull on the retina leading to a retinal tear or retinal bleed.

Retinal tears are often treated with a special type of laser to seal the retina. If the retinal tear is left untreated, it can cause retinal detachment This is an eye emergency that will require surgery.

Retinal bleed will need an emergency examination of the back of the eye for assessment of the retina.

Therefore, if you notice any new floaters, it is important to have your eyes checked by an eye doctor urgently.

Warning symptoms of retinal tear or detachment

If you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • A sudden shower of new floaters
  • Increased flashing lights
  • Dark shadow or a ‘curtain’ in your vision

These symptoms can be early signs of retinal tear or detachment. You are advised to seek immediate advice and have your eyes checked by an eye doctor.


If you have any queries about your posterior vitreous detachment, you can contact Mr Ellabban’s secretary by filling out the form in the contact section.