Most serious retinal problems that require surgery are caused by problems with the vitreous. The vitreous is much like the clear "white" of an egg, and it fills the central cavity of the eye. The vitreous is attached to the retina. It is most strongly attached to the front part of the retina, and is called the vitreous base. It is also attached in the back part of the eye to the optic nerve, the macula, and the large retinal blood vessels.
Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)As a person ages, the thick vitreous gel becomes less like a gel and more like a fluid. Small pockets of fluid form within the gel of the vitreous. As the eyeball moves, the liquefied vitreous also moves around the inside the vitreous cavity. Because of the movement, the vitreous begins to pull on the retina. With time, the vitreous can pull free and separate from the retina and optic nerve in the back (or posterior) part of the eye. This is called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). A PVD happens eventually in each eye of most people, and only infrequently causes a problem.