What is Vitreomacular Traction?
The main space in the centre of the eye contains a gel called vitreous. As we age this gel becomes less transparent and shrinks away from the retina at the back of the eye. This is called posterior vitreous detachment, or PVD and is absolutely normal. It can affect around seventy percent of people over the age of sixty five. PVD may create a problem with floaters, but alone it will not cause any permanent loss of vision.
Sometimes the gel does not separate cleanly from the retina and will stick to and pull the central area of the retina, the macula, where our central sharpest vision is handled. This condition is called vitreomacular traction. This tugging of the macula can cause problems with vision such as general blurring or distortion.
When should I have Surgery for Vitreomacular Traction?
The treatment for vitreomacular traction is a vitrectomy operation which involves removal of the vitreous jelly inside the eye so that the vitreous gel can be separated from the macula beneath allowing the layers of the retina to return to a more normal position. This will reduce the chance of any further visual loss, and possibly give you some level of visual improvement.
Vitreomacular traction can be a progressive condition therefore prompt surgery can offer you the best chance of long-term visual success. We may find after examination that, although your symptoms may be very mild, surgery is still recommended to prevent your condition becoming worse. Every case is different so the choice of whether or not to have surgery will be individual to each patient.