The aging eye
As we age, we experience vision changes that are part of the natural aging process.
One of the changes that happens is when the jelly-like liquid inside the eye, called the vitreous, detaches from the back of the eye, the part known as the retina.1-3
This separation is natural, and for most people it occurs without any complications.
Sometimes, however, the vitreous (the jelly-like substance in your eye) does not completely separate from the back of the eye. Instead, it stays attached to a specific part of the back of the eye, called the macula, which is responsible for clear vision.1,4-6 This adhesion is a condition called vitreomacular adhesion (VMA).
If the vitreous starts pulling on the macula, vision changes may occur as a result. When this happens, the condition is known as symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (symptomatic VMA). Although symptomatic VMA doesn’t occur in every case, everyone is at risk. Learn about the symptoms of symptomatic VMA.
Recognize the symptoms
The visual symptoms associated with symptomatic VMA may be serious and may impact your daily activities.
Distorted or wavy vision is the most common sign of symptomatic VMA.7-9
Other common symptoms include7-9:
- Floaters – small spots that drift or cast shadows in your field of vision
- Flashes of light
- Difficulty reading
If you experience any of these symptoms it is essential that you discuss them with your eye care professional. Learn why recognizing and monitoring your symptoms is important.
The images below provide an idea of what you may see in your everyday life
if you have symptomatic VMA.
Your vision may worsen over time
Depending on your symptoms, your eye care professional may observe you for several weeks to months to see whether your condition may resolve on its own. This approach is known as "watch and wait."
Early diagnosis is important as symptomatic VMA does not normally cause eye pain. So tell your eye care professional about any symptoms you are experiencing, even those not mentioned here. Your eye doctor may use simple diagnostic tools to determine what is going on.
It is important for your eye care professional to monitor you because in some cases, your condition may worsen, causing a macular hole.
A macular hole happens when persistent pulling removes a part of the macula, which is responsible for clear, detailed vision. A macular hole may worsen your vision and lead to complete vision loss over time.10,11
Waiting to treat symptomatic VMA may increase the risk that additional treatment may be less successful.11-13