Clinicopathological changes at the vitreoretinal junction: posterior vitreous detachment

Eye (Lond). 2008 Oct;22(10):1257-62. doi: 10.1038/eye.2008.41. Epub 2008 Apr 18.


Separation of the vitreous and posterior hyaloid membrane (PHM) or posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 65 years in the general population, but may occur earlier in myopic or otherwise predisposed individuals. Age-related synergetic changes occurring within the cortical and central gel must be distinguished from the PHM, which envelopes it. This study reports on the correlation between 'true' PVD seen clinically by the physician using dynamic examination, high-power slit-lamp biomicroscopy, and oblique illumination with some of its histological, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural features post-mortem. The presence of the Weiss ring does not necessarily indicate total clean separation of PHM, nor does its absence confirm that the PHM remains attached, since it may be destroyed during the process of separation. Immediately prior to PVD with the vitreous gel attached, the PHM must, by definition, form part of the inner limiting membrane. The detached PHM frequently exhibits basement membrane (BM) and its indigenous laminocytes stain focally for GFAP and type IV collagen. The PHM is distinct from and much thicker than the BM of Müller cells alone and the factors that initiate or limit separation of the PHM require greater study, particularly the role of laminocyte proliferation and migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Vitrectomy
  • Vitreous Detachment / complications
  • Vitreous Detachment / pathology*