Vitreomacular Traction Syndrome

The vitreous humor is a transparent, gel-like material that fills the space within the eye between the lens and the retina. The vitreous is encapsulated in a thin shell called the vitreous cortex, and the cortex in young, healthy eyes is usually sealed to the retina.

As the eye ages, or in certain pathologic conditions, the vitreous cortex can pull away from the retina, leading to a condition known as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). This detachment usually occurs as part of the normal aging process.

There are instances where a PVD is incomplete, leaving the vitreous partially attached to the retina, and causing tractional (pulling) forces that can cause anatomical damage. The resulting condition is called vitreomacular traction (VMT) syndrome.

VMT syndrome can lead to different maculopathies or disorders in the macular area (at the center of the retina), such as full- or partial-thickness macular holesepiretinal membranes, and cystoid macular edema. These disorders are often associated with reduced sharpness of vision (visual acuity) or other visual complications.