Retinal Conditions

Vitreomacular Traction (VMT)

Vitreomacular traction is a condition that occurs when the vitreous gel that fills the interior of the eye pulls on the surface of the macula – the centre of the retina responsible for clear, detailed vision – causing swelling which distorts the central field of vision. Vitreomacular traction is painless but causes blurred vision, distortion, and the formation of blind spots.

Symptoms of Vitreomacular Traction (VMT)

In many cases, vitreomacular traction is mild with few symptoms. However, over time, as the macula swells, distortions in the central field become more noticeable.

The symptoms of vitreomacular traction include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Blind spots in the central field of vision
  • Distortion
  • Loss of colour sensitivity
  • Loss of contrast sensitivity

Causes of Vitreomacular Traction (VMT)

Vitreomacular traction occurs as a natural part of the aging process. As we age, the vitreous gel inside the eye begins to shrink, which, in turn, pulls on the macula. If the vitreous gel fails to detach from the macula, vitreomacular traction results.

For many patients, the distortions in vision are mild, but the symptoms can intensify over time if left untreated.

Diagnosing Vitreomacular Traction (VMT)

Vitreomacular traction can be diagnosed by your retina specialist during a dilated eye exam.

Further testing with a retinal scan known as an optical coherence tomography will visualise the vitreomacular traction.

Even for mild cases, once diagnosed with vitreomacular traction, it is important to schedule regular eye exams in order to properly monitor the condition. As the pulling on the macula continues, symptoms of vision loss will gradually increase the longer this condition is left untreated.

Treatment of Vitreomacular Traction (VMT)

Treatment of vitreomacular traction may not be needed if the symptoms are mild. Your retinal specialist may recommend scheduling follow up appointments in order to monitor this condition.

In more serious cases of vitreomacular traction, injection of a medication called Jetrea or vitrectomy surgery may be needed to release the pulling on the macula. During this treatment, the vitreous is gently separated from the macula, either pharmacologically or surgically,so that the retinal layers can return to their normal position. This prevents further vision loss caused by this condition.