Learn What You Need to Know to Maximize Your Vision and Decrease Your Risk of Retinal Detachment

What Is A Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)? ​

The eye can be thought of as similar to a camera, with two main parts, a lens and a film. The film layer is called the retina and lines the back wall of the eye. There is a gel called the vitreous that is located in front of the retina and is very firmly adherent to it. As we start to get older, the vitreous slowly separates from the back wall of the eye and moves towards the front of the eye.Β 

What are the signs of a posterior vitreous detachment?


Many patients will begin to notice small black spots that move when their eye moves. This typically improves gradually over several weeks, but some floaters generally persist for many months.

Flashing Lights

These lights are white arc shaped lights which are in the outside corner of the visual field. They are most prominent when in the dark and are so fast patients wonder if they were even there.


Patients complain of an area of their peripheral vision that is dark or black, similar to a curtain coming down at a play. This is a sign of a retinal detachment.

"Spider webs"

Patients may notice what appears to be a web or net, which moves when their eye moves. This represents the back face of the vitreous, and typically improves gradually over weeks to months.


Patients will notice many black spots that move when their eye moves. It is typically worse in the morning. There is a high risk of a retinal tear.

I have been diagnosed with a posterior vitreous detachment. What are the warning signs of a retinal tear or detachment?

1) Flashes of light – Many patients experience flashes of light at the onset of the PVD. It typically lasts for several hours, then the frequency begins to decrease substantially. Persistent flashes after the first day or an increase in the frequency of the flashes after the first day may be a sign of a new retinal tear and should be evaluated by an eye care specialist promptly.

2) Floaters – It is common to have a few floaters with the onset of a PVD. Experiencing many new floaters may be a sign of a vitreous hemorrhage or a new retinal tear. This warrants an evaluation by an eye care specialist promptly.

3) Decreased peripheral vision – This is described as an area of peripheral vision which is dark or black, and typically becomes progressively larger. This is the sign of a retinal detachment and requires urgent evaluation (same day).

How May I Decrease My Risk Of Developing A Retinal Tear or Detachment?


It is recommended not to perform any strenuous or high impact activity (e.x running).


It is recommended to avoid any fast eye or head movements. Avoid heavy lifting.

Return to Normal Activities

It is typically okay to return to normal activities approximately 4-6 weeks after the initiation of symptoms.

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