Also known as massive periretinal proliferation or massive vitreous retraction, Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy is the most common complication of a retinal detachment, and occurs in approximately 8-10% of patients who develop a retinal detachment. Proliferative vitreoretinopathy, despite the long name, is simply scar tissue formation within the eye: “proliferative,” because cells proliferate and “vitreoretinopathy,” because the problems involve the vitreous and retina.
At the time of a retinal detachment and the formation of a retinal tear, retinal cells that are normally under the retina come through the retinal tear and enter the vitreous cavity. After the retinal detachment is repaired or not repaired (if the patient does not seek help), these cells proliferate on the surface of the retina (and sometimes under the retina) in sheets, which contract and pull the retina back off. These sheets can occur in the posterior portion of the retina, or in any other location of the retina, causing re-detachment and requiring surgery and injection treatments to repair.