What are the long term symptoms of PVD?
Long-term PVD symptoms
If you've had your eyes checked and a PVD has been diagnosed then the symptoms will change over time. Even though the floaters and flashes of light can be frustrating in the short-term they usually settle down and do not cause permanent sight loss.
You may find the symptoms of your PVD only last for a few weeks, but more commonly they last around six months, with the floaters and flashes of light gradually calming down over this period. For some people the floaters caused by the PVD can last for up to a year, or longer, although this is more unusual. If PVD takes longer than six months to calm down it does not mean there is anything wrong, but if you have concerns about any ongoing symptoms you should speak to the eye clinic that checked your eyes.
PVD alone does not cause any permanent loss of vision. Once it has calmed down you should be able to see just as you could before it started because the brain usually learns to ignore any remaining floaters.
Small flashes of light
These can be visible when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye. The movement of the vitreous away from the retina at the back of the eye creates a tug on the retina. The retina reacts by sending a small electrical charge to your brain. You see this as short, small, flashes of light.
In the long term, you are unlikely to see these flashes because once the vitreous has fully come away it no longer pulls on the retina. This means that the retina is no longer being stimulated to produce flashes of light. Some people may be more prone to seeing the occasional flash of light in the long-term but this is not usually anything to worry about.
Floaters can take lots of different forms and shapes and can come in different sizes. You may see them as dots, circles, lines, clouds, or cobwebs. Sometimes, floaters can move around quickly. At other times it can feel like they hardly move at all. You may find floaters are more obvious in bright light or on a sunny day.
A floater is created when the vitreous becomes more watery and small harmless clumps of cells develop and float in the more watery vitreous. The light rays, which normally travel from the front of the eye, meet a clump in the vitreous and it casts a shadow on the retina at the back of the eye. We see this shadow as a floater.
When the floaters are at their most intense it can be hard to imagine that they will become less obvious or go away with time, but for most people they do. Sometimes new floaters can develop or it can take longer for the floaters to calm down and for your brain to learn to ignore them. This may be because the vitreous is still becoming more watery even when it has detached from the retina.
Many people have floaters even if they do not have PVD or an eye condition. Floaters are very common and your brain usually learns to ignore them over time.
As the vitreous pulls away from the retina you may see the thicker, outer edge of the vitreous. This slightly changes the way light passes through the eye, which can make it feel like you are looking through a cobweb. This visual effect soon disappears once the vitreous has come away from the retina.
If you've found this information useful, please help us to continue to help people with their sight loss by making a donation.