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Posterior Vitreous Detachment

August 1, 2016
by Kathleen Mears
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Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) is commonly referred to as floaters—the little spidery things, tiny dots, or flashes of light that move around in the visual field as we age. Aging causes the gelatinous material inside the eyeball to dry up and pull away from the retina.

Usually, floaters are harmless and clear up over time. But they can also be a symptom of a detached retina, which could result in vision loss without the intervention of laser surgery. Floaters can only be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist who dilates and examines the eyes.

I have had floaters for probably 15 years. My former Southeastern Ohio ophthalmologist never made a big deal about it. She wanted me to come every year for an exam. But, I told her I would only come every two years when I was reevaluated for my eyeglass prescription—unless the floaters got worse.

Two years after moving to this facility, I saw a local ophthalmologist. My former ophthalmologist had faxed my records to the new one. At my eye examination in 2012, PVD was never mentioned. But I did get a new eyeglass lens prescription.

When I went to the ophthalmologist in 2015, he seemed befuddled and could not locate my past ophthalmologist's records. When I told him they had been faxed three years before, he gave me a puzzled look. Then he reevaluated my eyeglass prescription, which had been too strong and wrote me a new one. He never mentioned PVD or when I should return for my next appointment.

In February I got a letter from the ophthalmologist saying that due to my diagnosis, I needed to make an appointment soon. Wondering what diagnosis he meant, I called and was only able to leave a voicemail, asking for more information and a call back. When no one returned my call, I thought the letter was sent by mistake.

About a month later, I got another letter from the ophthalmologist this time on bright yellow letterhead. It said I have posterior vitreous detachment and that I needed to make an appointment as soon as possible.

Since the letters were a bit alarming, I made an appointment. My examination showed my eyes are good. But because of my age, the floaters and my implants following cataract surgeries, my ophthalmologist would like to see me each year.

Now that I am always transported to medical appointments by the facility transportation aide, I have to remember to ask to my doctor to tell me any special instructions and when another appointment is to be scheduled. Otherwise, that information is written on progress notes, which are returned to the facility.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...