What is a Vitreous Hemorrhage
The vitreous gel occupies approximately 2/3 of the total volume of the eye. It is a semisolid or liquid clear substance that fills the space between the lens in the front of the eye and the retina lining the back of the eye. There are normally no blood vessels within the vitreous gel. Abnormal blood vessels can grow into the vitreous gel in a variety of eye diseases, most commonly diabetic retinopathy. There are, of course, many blood vessels surrounding the vitreous gel. A vitreous hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds within or near the vitreous cavity.
The initial symptoms of a vitreous hemorrhage are floaters and cloudy vision. Floaters associated with bleeding are described as lines, spider webs, or many dark dots. If the vitreous hemorrhage is very significant, there could be a major loss of vision. Whenever there has been a sudden onset of floaters or visual loss, a prompt, careful retinal examination is necessary both to diagnose the underlying cause of the vitreous bleeding and to determine if any specific therapy is required.
There are many possible causes of vitreous hemorrhage, including systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or sickle cell anemia. Also, with aging the vitreous gel liquefies and separates from the retina, creating a posterior vitreous detachment. Bleeding can sometimes be associated when this occurs. Other causes of vitreous hemorrhage include ocular trauma, retinal tears or detachment, retinal vein occlusion, other vascular abnormalities, tumors, and rarely wet macular degeneration.
What is the treatment for a Vitreous Hemorrhage?
The most important issue is the prompt evaluation of an eye with an acute vitreous hemorrhage to determine the cause and to determine the status and health of the retina. Diagnostic ultrasonography equipment can be used to study the inside of the eye in situations where there is too much blood to allow for direct visualization of the retina. Depending on the situation, a vitreous hemorrhage may be initially observed to see if the body will absorb it on its own. Sometimes vitrectomy surgery is required to remove the blood, improve vision, and to address any underlying retinal disease.