Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV)
What is Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV)?
The space at the back of the eye, behind the lens, is normally filled with a clear jelly. This jelly is called the vitreous. Children with PHPV are born with a hazy, scarred vitreous. The hazy vitreous blocks light passing to the back of the eye. This leads to blurred vision.
PHPV can lead to other eye problems developing
The scarred vitreous is often stuck to the back of the lens and areas of the retina. This can damage these parts of the eye as well and lead to other eye conditions:
- The lens may become hazy (cataract)
- The retina may peel off the back of the eye (retinal detachment)
- The pressure in the eye can rise (glaucoma)
- The eye can be smaller than usual (microphthalmia)
If you would like a VI Scotland information document on any of these conditions please ask us.
Why are some children born with PHPV?
Sometimes when an unborn child is growing in the womb not all parts of the eye develop normally. In children with PHPV the first (primary) vitreous that grows in the eye fails to become clear. It grows too much (hyperplastic) and becomes hazy and scarred. Usually it would disappear and become clear but instead it stays (persists). This is why the condition is called Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous. This leads to blurred vision and other eye conditions sometimes developing.
Nobody really knows why the vitreous sometimes does not develop correctly. Most cases of PHPV occur by chance although some cases are known to run in families. Usually the condition only affects one eye.
Links to information on PHPV