The interior of your eye contains a gel-like substance called vitreous. It’s composed of 99 percent water, with collagen and hyaluronic acid filling the other one percent. These substances give the vitreous its gel-like consistency. The vitreous helps your eye maintain its round shape.
Inside the vitreous are millions of intertwined fibers that are hooked to the surface of the retina. The retina acts like film in your eye, capturing the images and light that enter through your iris. Aging causes changes in your eyes, and one of these changes is the shrinking of the vitreous. When the vitreous shrinks, the fibers pull your retina.
The fibers eventually break and shrink away from the retina. When this happens, it’s called a vitreous detachment. It can also be called a posterior vitreous detachment because when the vitreous begins to shrink, it creates pockets that leave space at the back of your eye near the optic nerve. Most of the time, a vitreous detachment poses no risk to your vision and doesn’t need treatment. Vitreous detachment is common and usually affects those over the age of 50. It’s extremely common for people over 80. If you are extremely nearsighted, you may also be at risk for a vitreous detachment.