detached vitreous and diving

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ChristyV

Registered

The vision in my left eye seemed a little weird lately and I went to the doctor. She examined my eyes and said I have a detached vitreous. She just said to come back in two weeks, or, if I begin to see flashing lights to come in right away. I told her that I dive and she wasn’t sure what effect that would have. I wouldn’t think it would have any since my eyes are in an airspace that I can equalize. PLEASE, somone tell me I am right.
Thanks.

DocVikingo

Senior Member

Unless gas has been purposely introduced into the eye for ophthalmological purposes, the eye is not an air-containing space. Rather, it is filed with a non-compressible clear gel known as vitreous humor. And, while the eye does ride in an orbit open to the air, this also really is not an air-containing space. As such, the eye does not require equalization when diving.

Nonetheless, until medical clearance for return to SCUBA has been received from a qualified source it appears unwise to dive with a vitreous separation. It is possible that the separation could be aggravated by such activity and the retina become involved, at which point very serious visual impairment becomes a risk.

It would be prudent to avoid sudden head or eye movements and significant straining (e.g., lifting SCUBA cylinders). Also endeavor to turn the head to look in a particular direction rather than hold the head in a fixed position and move the eyes.

You or your physician may wish to phone DAN at (919) 684-2948 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm EST). Email is slower, but gets you a written response — https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/myaccount/mscc/emailmedic.asp. DAN also may be able to make a referral to a diving medicine savvy eye specialist in your area.

Please keep the board posted on your progress–it helps us learn.

This is educational only and does not constitute or imply a doctor-patient relationship. It is not medical advice to you or any other individual, and should not be construed as such.

DocVikingo

Senior Member

You may find this webpage about the condition informative:

miketsp

Contributor

Just for information:
This happened to me twice in the last 5 years. It seems to be one of the problems of aging. I’m in my late 50s.
Both times I had new floaters and scintillation during rapid eye movements in half-light.
Both times I went in urgently for a complete dilated eye examination as it is important to diagnose urgently if there has been any associated retinal separation.
Fortunately in my case there was none. The ophthalmologist didn’t impose any restrictions on my diving when I mentioned this and the prescribed treatment in both cases was 500mg of vitamin C daily for 6 months.
The first time it happened the symtoms cleared up.
The second time I’m now 3 months into the treatment and it’s a lot better. I did do quite a lot of diving during treatment.
Again, this was for my specific case after detailed examinations.
This is definitely a situation where a medical examination and opinion is required in each case.

“We have not succeeded in answering all of your problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.”

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ChristyV

Registered

Thanks to both DocVikingo and MikeTSP. Being a typical diver, I am of course going to listen to Mike! If I restrict myself to boat diving, I won’t have to lift any cylinders! Of course I do have to climb a swim ladder! The doctor said she didn’t think there was any problem with diving. Well, I’ll have to think about this. but thanks you guys!

gert7to3

ScubaBoard Supporter

Messages 1,160 Reaction score 117 Location Northwest Michigan now, formerly Chicago # of dives 200 – 499

There was a discussion about PVD’s in November 2007. Here’s an OCT scan of my right eye from that post:

The rest of that post is also interesting and will probably ease your mind.

My right eye vitreous has since completely and cleanly detached. I haven’t uploaded any of my more recent scans. However, next Tuesday, I’ll be in the clinic with the OCT I’ve made most of my scans from. I’ll try to post a series of the four month progression where the detachment crossed my fovea, then separated. It’s nice to be able to look back on this instead of undergoing it. Then again, my left eye is doing the same thing.

Since your eye is essentially fluid filled with a saturated tissue, decompression is not what you have to worry about. DocVikingo’s cautions or other medical advice should be heeded.

Everyone should check their eyes for any changes in their visual fields. Do this by covering each eye separately, then see if there are any distortions or differences between your two eyes. Read with each eye; see if lines are straight and true ( like the door seams of kitchen or filing cabinets). If you perceive any sort of distortion, get it checked out immediately.

It is common to start needing reading glasses from your late thirties or early forties.

Near sighted (myopic) people are more prone to PVD’s, macular holes and retinal detachments. These are almost always accompanied by flashes of light, new floaters or spotty shadows.

If you are diabetic or hypertensive these conditions can also impact your eyes. Get regular eye checkups.

detached vitreous and diving

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world’s largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

ChristyV

Registered

The vision in my left eye seemed a little weird lately and I went to the doctor. She examined my eyes and said I have a detached vitreous. She just said to come back in two weeks, or, if I begin to see flashing lights to come in right away. I told her that I dive and she wasn’t sure what effect that would have. I wouldn’t think it would have any since my eyes are in an airspace that I can equalize. PLEASE, somone tell me I am right.
Thanks.

DocVikingo

Senior Member

Unless gas has been purposely introduced into the eye for ophthalmological purposes, the eye is not an air-containing space. Rather, it is filed with a non-compressible clear gel known as vitreous humor. And, while the eye does ride in an orbit open to the air, this also really is not an air-containing space. As such, the eye does not require equalization when diving.

Nonetheless, until medical clearance for return to SCUBA has been received from a qualified source it appears unwise to dive with a vitreous separation. It is possible that the separation could be aggravated by such activity and the retina become involved, at which point very serious visual impairment becomes a risk.

It would be prudent to avoid sudden head or eye movements and significant straining (e.g., lifting SCUBA cylinders). Also endeavor to turn the head to look in a particular direction rather than hold the head in a fixed position and move the eyes.

You or your physician may wish to phone DAN at (919) 684-2948 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm EST). Email is slower, but gets you a written response — https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/myaccount/mscc/emailmedic.asp. DAN also may be able to make a referral to a diving medicine savvy eye specialist in your area.

Read Post  The Best Diving Destinations by Month – An Annual Scuba Calendar

Please keep the board posted on your progress–it helps us learn.

This is educational only and does not constitute or imply a doctor-patient relationship. It is not medical advice to you or any other individual, and should not be construed as such.

DocVikingo

Senior Member

You may find this webpage about the condition informative:

miketsp

Contributor

Just for information:
This happened to me twice in the last 5 years. It seems to be one of the problems of aging. I’m in my late 50s.
Both times I had new floaters and scintillation during rapid eye movements in half-light.
Both times I went in urgently for a complete dilated eye examination as it is important to diagnose urgently if there has been any associated retinal separation.
Fortunately in my case there was none. The ophthalmologist didn’t impose any restrictions on my diving when I mentioned this and the prescribed treatment in both cases was 500mg of vitamin C daily for 6 months.
The first time it happened the symtoms cleared up.
The second time I’m now 3 months into the treatment and it’s a lot better. I did do quite a lot of diving during treatment.
Again, this was for my specific case after detailed examinations.
This is definitely a situation where a medical examination and opinion is required in each case.

“We have not succeeded in answering all of your problems. The answers we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions. In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we are confused on a higher level and about more important things.”

ChristyV

Registered

Thanks to both DocVikingo and MikeTSP. Being a typical diver, I am of course going to listen to Mike! If I restrict myself to boat diving, I won’t have to lift any cylinders! Of course I do have to climb a swim ladder! The doctor said she didn’t think there was any problem with diving. Well, I’ll have to think about this. but thanks you guys!

gert7to3

ScubaBoard Supporter

Messages 1,160 Reaction score 117 Location Northwest Michigan now, formerly Chicago # of dives 200 – 499

There was a discussion about PVD’s in November 2007. Here’s an OCT scan of my right eye from that post:

The rest of that post is also interesting and will probably ease your mind.

My right eye vitreous has since completely and cleanly detached. I haven’t uploaded any of my more recent scans. However, next Tuesday, I’ll be in the clinic with the OCT I’ve made most of my scans from. I’ll try to post a series of the four month progression where the detachment crossed my fovea, then separated. It’s nice to be able to look back on this instead of undergoing it. Then again, my left eye is doing the same thing.

Since your eye is essentially fluid filled with a saturated tissue, decompression is not what you have to worry about. DocVikingo’s cautions or other medical advice should be heeded.

Everyone should check their eyes for any changes in their visual fields. Do this by covering each eye separately, then see if there are any distortions or differences between your two eyes. Read with each eye; see if lines are straight and true ( like the door seams of kitchen or filing cabinets). If you perceive any sort of distortion, get it checked out immediately.

It is common to start needing reading glasses from your late thirties or early forties.

Near sighted (myopic) people are more prone to PVD’s, macular holes and retinal detachments. These are almost always accompanied by flashes of light, new floaters or spotty shadows.

If you are diabetic or hypertensive these conditions can also impact your eyes. Get regular eye checkups.

Diving with “posterior vitreous separation”

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world’s largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Read Post  Can You Scuba Dive After Flying?

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

ssimpala

Registered

I recently had a vision problem – I was seeing flashing lights in my peripheral vision when out at night. Saw an opthomologist who diagnosed ‘posterior vitreous separation’ which is where the gel inside the eyeball separates from the lining of the eye causing a flashing light sensation. He said it would get better with time and is actually quite commom as you get older (I’m 55) When I asked him about diving with this condition he said I should be fine, just don’t go really deep. As he was not a scuba diver, I was unable to get a clear definition from him as to what he considered “really deep”. Problem is, I’m going on a dive vacation next week and am planning to get myAOW there which, of course, includes a deep dive. Anyone out there been diving with this condition? We’re leaving 11/09 so any reassurance would be appreciated. Thanks so much!

Cacia

Contributor

I agree, scary answer. Get some more informed opinions, I’d say.

(I would be asking what is in the “void” created by the seperation so that I could inquire about the physics, myself. I thought bubbles and particulate caused flashes, I’d need to pin that part down. I have heard of microbubble emboli in retinal arteries and I would be full of questions. Obviously, you would not want to increase the seperation. I wonder what they think caused this in the first place? Sometimes that could be a clue. Personally, I find all the answers are not always out there and you have to use your gut.
I would at least wait and not dive when the visual disturbances were “fresh”.

Dr. Doug Ebersole

Contributor

I’m a cardiologist, not an ophthalmologist but I can’t think why greater depths would be a problem for a non-compressible fluid filled structure like the vitreous portion of your eye. However, it’s your vision we’re talking about. Call DAN and get some expert advice. If needed, they can refer you to a diving-knowledgeable ophthalmologist in your area.

IANTD and TDI CCR Trimix Instructor
Florida Sales Agent, Kiss Rebreathers

ssimpala

Registered

Thanks for your reply. I’ve been thinking about contacting DAN and need to look into how to do that. Quicker to e-mail or phone? Thanks again, starting to feel a little calmer.

gert7to3

ScubaBoard Supporter

Messages 1,160 Reaction score 117 Location Northwest Michigan now, formerly Chicago # of dives 200 – 499

I’m an ophthalmic photographer, not a physician, but perhaps could offer some insight.

Your eye’s shape is maintained by the vitreous humor. Vitreous is not a simple fluid filling the eyeball, but a membrane filled with a thin (watery) gel. As we age this membrane breaks down and can separate, sometimes unevenly, from the retina. This separation causes traction, which stimulates the retina, resulting in the sensations of flashing lights you are experiencing. Since your eye is still completely fluid filled, there shouldn’t be any greater risk from diving. There are no bubbles forming. Think in terms of pulling a piece of Saran Wrap off the bottom of a bowl filled with water.

I’m 57 and can document my own vitreous separating using an optical coherence tomography microscope.

You should keep track of this by covering each eye separately and checking their respective visual fields. By keeping both eyes open you won’t squint and induce visual effects.

The things to watch out for: If you experience flashes in brightly lighted rooms; if you see a bunch of floaters or spots suddenly form, especially accompanied by flashes; if you see a shadow form in your visual field. Have this checked out immediately by an eye doctor. High myopes (nearsighted) people are most susceptible to complications from vitreous separation.

Source https://scubaboard.com/community/threads/detached-vitreous-and-diving.282143/

Source https://scubaboard.com/community/threads/detached-vitreous-and-diving.282143/#:~:text=Nonetheless,%20until%20medical%20clearance%20for%20return%20to%20SCUBA,point%20very%20serious%20visual%20impairment%20becomes%20a%20risk.

Source https://scubaboard.com/community/threads/diving-with-posterior-vitreous-separation.209137/

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