Age-related changes in human vitreous structure

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 1987;225(2):89-93. doi: 10.1007/BF02160337.


Changes in vitreous structure that occur with aging are important in the pathogenesis of vitreous liquefaction (synchisis senilis), vitreous detachment, and retinal disease. Vitreous morphology was studied in 59 human eyes post-mortem using dark-field horizontal slit illumination of the entire dissected vitreous. In many individuals younger than 30 years, the vitreous was homogeneous in structure. Middle-aged individuals had macroscopic fibers in the central vitreous, which coursed anteroposteriorly and inserted into the vitreous base and the vitreous cortex, posteriorly. During senescence, the vitreous volume was reduced, the vitreous body was collapsed (syneresis), and the fibers were thickened, tortuous, and surrounded by liquid vitreous. This sequence of age-related changes probably results from a progressive reorganization of the hyaluronic acid and collagen molecular networks. Characterization of the molecular events underlying these changes will elucidate the mechanisms of the phenomena of synchisis, syneresis, and detachment, and may provide methods with which to prevent or induce vitreous detachment prophylactically.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Eye Banks
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Fetus / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / metabolism
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lighting
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology
  • Vitreous Body / anatomy & histology*
  • Vitreous Body / metabolism


  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Collagen