Vitreous Gel

Eye Anatomy

Vitreous Gel

What is Vitreous Gel?

Vitreous gel is also known as vitreous humor. This gel is very clear gel that fills the inside of the eyeball. The main function of the vitreous gel is to help the eyeball to hold its spherical shape. This gel keeps the eyeballs in place because without the vitreous gel the eyeballs would not remain in place.

The vitreous gel also holds the retina in place on the interior wall of the eyeball. Therefore any disease that affects the vitreous gel is most likely to cause complete or partial loss of vision.

About Vitreous Gel and How it Appears

The vitreous gel is a clear and colorless gel. It is about four times viscous as compared to water. This gel fills the entire eyeball and the eye lens and the retinal lining at the back are the only areas that are not occupied with the vitreous gel. The cells produce the humor in the retina of the eye and though it has high viscosity the vitreous gel consists of 99% water.

Other than water, vitreous humor is also in a large amount. This gel has different types of salts and sugar, amino acids, collagen fibers and proteins. The gel consists of small amount of cells. These cells are known as phagocytes which are types of cells that put in the waste matter everywhere in the body. Inside the eye, these cells make sure that the visual area remains clear in the eye.

Though phagocytes are there in the eyes that remove cellular debris, the vitreous gel does not go through any circulation. This gel remains intact and does not get replenished or replaced by any circulatory system, it rather gets stagnant. Therefore, this is one of the main reasons that the vitreous humor has a debilitating effect on the vision.

The posterior vitreous detachment is a common disease of the eye and it is caused by the disorder of the vitreous humor. This disease starts developing when a person gets older especially between the age of 40 and 70. The posterior vitreous detachment happens when the vitreous gel starts changing over a period of time, thus becoming more liquid and less dense. As a result, the vitreous humor mass starts shrinking and collapses from the retina. The appearance of vitreous floaters is a very common symptom of this disease. In this very tiny black specks appear on the field of vision. Other than this, flashes of light are another common symptom in the retina.  

Those people who are suffering with type 1 or type 2diabetes are at high risk of getting the retinal detachment which is another type of vitreous degeneration. The retinal detachment happens when retinal blood vessel gets damaged which is caused by high glucose levels. It can also develop with the appearance of flashes and floaters.

When blood vessels get destructed, new vessels start growing and a few of them develop in the vitreous humor. This results in big black patches in the vision area and therefore increases the blurred vision.

Treatment of Vitreous Gel

Laser photocoagulation is one such treatment for retinal detachment. It helps in improving the new blood vessels which begin to develop. The other treatment is vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel is removed and replaced by a sterile saline solution. This therefore improves the vision of the patient.