Vitreous wick syndrome, also known as vitreous touch syndrome, is an eye condition that can occur following eye surgery or trauma. In people with this condition, strands of vitreous—the gel that fills your eye—prolapse through a wound in the eye. Here are three things you need to know about vitreous wick syndrome.
Why does vitreous wick syndrome occur?
Normally, your vitreous is contained inside your vitreous chamber, which is the main compartment inside your eye. Eye surgery and eye injuries can both introduce wounds to the eye that can allow the vitreous to slip somewhere it's not supposed to be: the anterior chamber.
The anterior chamber is the part of your eye that separates your cornea and iris, and it's full of a watery fluid called aqueous humor. When vitreous enters the anterior chamber, it can escape the eye through a wound or incision on the surface of your cornea. These strands of vitreous are known as vitreous wicks.
What are the signs of vitreous wick syndrome?
Vitreous wick syndrome generally occurs in people who have either recently undergone eye surgery or suffered trauma to their eyes. If you experience this condition, you'll notice symptoms like pain inside your eyes, blurred vision, or the sensation that something is stuck in your eye. Your eye may also feel itchy. A gush of warm fluid from your eye is another sign that you have vitreous wick syndrome.
If you experience these symptoms, tell your optometrist immediately. If you've have a recent history of eye surgery or trauma, make sure tell your optometrist because this information will help them diagnose your problem.
How is vitreous wick syndrome treated?
Vitreous wick syndrome can be treated surgically. Your optometrist will need to refer you to an eye surgery specialist, known as an ophthalmologist, to receive your treatment. The ophthalmologist will perform a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure that involves removing the vitreous from inside your eye.
During this procedure, your anterior chamber will be cleared of vitreous. This is done by making a small incision in your eye, cutting the vitreous into small, manageable pieces and then removing it with suction. After your surgery, you may be prescribed antibiotics or corticosteroids to prevent post-surgical complications like infections and inflammation.
As long as this surgery is done early, before the disease can advance, it's quite effective. One study found that most patients with 20/50 or better vision will experience an improvement in their vision following this procedure, while no patients with 20/300 or worse vision ended up with good results.
If you think you have vitreous wick syndrome, tell an optometrist like Bethany Vision Clinic right away.