Adult vitreous structure and postnatal changes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This review will focus on the molecular organisation of the adult vitreous and how it undergoes ageing changes throughout life that result in vitreous liquefaction and a predisposition towards posterior vitreous detachment and retinal break formation. At birth, the vitreous humour is in a gel state due to the presence of a network of fine collagen fibrils. With ageing, these collagen fibrils progressively aggregate due to a loss of type IX collagen from their surfaces. The aggregation of collagen fibrils may cause vitreous liquefaction which, when combined with an age-related weakening of postbasal vitreoretinal adhesion, predisposes to posterior vitreous detachment. Throughout postnatal life, the posterior border of the vitreous base migrates posteriorly from the ora serrata into the peripheral retina. This is due to new collagen synthesis by the peripheral retina. This new collagen intertwines with pre-existing cortical vitreous collagen to create new adhesions and thereby extends the vitreous base posteriorly. If irregularities in the posterior border of the vitreous base arise from this process, there is a predisposition towards retinal break formation during posterior vitreous detachment and subsequent rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1214-1222
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008