[Incidence of posterior vitreous detachment in the elderly]

Ophthalmologe. 1997 Sep;94(9):619-23. doi: 10.1007/s003470050170.
[Article in German]


Few studies have so far investigated the frequency of posterior vitreous detachment in healthy eyes, and most of these have been biomicroscopic investigations. Since the reported data sometimes vary widely, especially in older age-groups, we conducted sonographic investigations on the frequency of posterior vitreous detachment in old and very old patients.

Method: A total of 712 eyes in 404 patients aged 65 years and older were studied. Eyes that had previously been operated on, eyes with proliferative retinal disease, and eyes with an ametropia exceeding +/- 3.0 diopters were excluded from the study. The vitreous body was investigated using kinetic B-mode sonography. It was classified as completely attached, completely detached, or partially detached.

Results: In the 65- to 69-year-old age-group, only 12 of 105 eyes (11%) exhibited a complete posterior vitreous detachment, while the vitreous body was still completely attached in 75 eyes (71%). A marked decline in the number of eyes with a completely attached vitreous body was first seen in the 80- to 89-year-old age-group. Even in this group, however, the vitreous body was still completely attached in 114 of 263 eyes (43%), whereas it was partially detached in 28 eyes (11%). Only in 121 eyes (46%) was the vitreous body completely detached.

Conclusions: The frequency of partial or complete posterior vitreous detachment increases with age. However, posterior vitreous detachment in the elderly is rarer than previously thought.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eye Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vitreous Body / diagnostic imaging*