The vitreous humour (also known simply as the vitreous) is a clear, colourless fluid that fills the space between the lens and the retina of your eye. 99% of it consists of water and the rest is a mixture of collagen, proteins, salts and sugars. Despite the water-to-collagen ratio, the vitreous has a firm jelly-like consistency.
Structure of Vitreous Humor
The vitreous humor is a transparent, colorless, gelatinous mass that fills the space in the eye between the lens and the retina. It is surrounded by a layer of collagen called the vitreous membrane (or hyaloid membrane or vitreous cortex) separating it from the rest of the eye. It makes up four-fifths of the volume of the eyeball. The vitreous humour is fluid-like near the centre, and gel-like near the edges.
The vitreous humour is in contact with the vitreous membrane overlying the retina. Collagen fibrils attach the vitreous at the optic nerve disc and the ora serrata (where the retina ends anteriorly), at the Wieger-band, the dorsal side of the lens. The vitreous also firmly attaches to the lens capsule, retinal vessels, and the macula, the area of the retina which provides finer detail and central vision.
Role of a Vitreous Humor
The vitreous performs a vital role in protecting your eye. Most importantly, it helps it to hold its ‘spherical’ shape. The vitreous also comes in contact with the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that acts like the film of a camera). The pressure of the vitreous humour helps to keep the retina in place.
Maintaining the Health of the Vitreous Humor
People over the age of 50 may become affected by vitreous detachment as the vitreous humor dwindles. This causes the vitreous humor to change in consistency and become fibrous. Symptoms are:
- Increased floaters. These are small strands that look like cobwebs or small spots that look like shadows, but they go away once you try to focus on them.
- Light flashes. You may notice small light flashes in your side (peripheral) vision.
These floaters do not generally result in vision loss, but they can lead to a problems, such as:
- Retinal detachment. This happens when your retina becomes pulled or lifted from its regular position. It can lead to vision loss if not treated. When there are tears or smaller injuries, this is referred to as a retinal tear. Laser surgery can treat a tear, while traditional surgery may be needed for a retinal detachment.
- Macular hole. The macula is in the central part of the retina. It is the part of the eye that lets you see things in detail. If a part of your macula breaks, it could result in a hole that causes vision problems. Some macular holes heal on their own, while surgery is needed to repair others. Surgery involves removing the vitreous liquid and supplanting it with a mixture of gas and liquid. You will have to be face down for one to two days or even a few weeks after this surgery. You will usually not be allowed to fly for about six months to prevent changes in air pressure from causing the bubble to increase in size, which could result in additional eye pressure.
Journal Manager Journal of Eye Diseases and Disorderss