The vitreous is the gel-like substance that makes up approximately two-thirds of the eye’s volume and is located in between the lens in the front of the eye and the retina in the back of the eye. In normal, healthy vitreous gel, there are no blood vessels, but diseases such as diabetic retinopathy can lead to the development of new blood vessels which can grow into the vitreous gel. These blood vessels are often fragile and susceptible to leaking blood and fluids.
A vitreous hemorrhage occurs when one of these blood vessels ruptures and causes bleeding within the vitreous gel, causing visual symptoms. Normal blood vessels may also rupture, although less common, as a result of force from a retinal tear or detachment. Patients with vitreous hemorrhage usually notice a sudden, significant increase in the number and size of floaters blocking their vision. Severe bleeding can also cause vision to appear blurry, cloudy or hazy.