If you suffer from vitreous strands and opacities (commonly referred to as “eye floaters”), then you are already familiar with the frustrating visual disturbance caused by these cobweb and cloud-like shadows. The vitreous humor is the clear, jelly-like substance in the main chamber of the eye, located between the lens and the retina.
At a young age, the vitreous is perfectly transparent. Over time as the eye ages, this vitreous humor can degenerate, losing its form and liquefying. Without the stable vitreous humor, the collagen fibers collapse and bind together to form clumps and knots. It is these fibers, which cast shadows on the retina and appear as spots, strings, or cobwebs that are commonly referred to as “floaters”.
In many cases as the eye ages further, the vitreous humor can peel away from the retina entirely. This is known as Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). PVD is often associated with a sudden increase in the number of floaters.
In cases where floaters negatively affect a patient’s quality of vision, laser therapy (vitreolysis) can be performed here in our office. Other surgical procedures may be beneficial.
Vitreolysis is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that can eliminate the visual disturbance caused by floaters. It is performed right here in the office and typically takes 20-60 minutes per treatment session. On average, patients will require two treatment sessions to achieve a satisfactory result.
The goal of vitreolysis is to achieve a “functional improvement”. That is, to allow you to return to “normal” day-to-day activities without the hindrance of floaters.
How does vitreolysis work?
Vitreolysis involves the application of nanosecond pulses of low-energy laser light to evaporate the vitreous opacities and to sever the vitreous strands. During this process, the laser energy evaporates the collagen and hyaluronin molecules to form a gas. The end result is that the floater is removed and/or reduced to a size that no longer impedes vision.
What happens during the procedure?
Vitreolysis is performed as an outpatient procedure; you do not have to stay overnight in a hospital. Immediately prior to treatment, Dr White or a technician will administer eye drops to prepare the eye and to provide mild anesthesia. A contact lens will then be placed on your eye, with the laser light delivered through a specially designed microscope.
During treatment, you will likely observe small, dark specks/shadows – signaling that the floaters are being evaporated into small gas bubbles. These gas bubbles quickly dissolve and reabsorb into the vitreous humor.
Once the treatment is complete, Dr White may treat your eyes with anti-inflammatory drops. It is important to note that most patients will need to undergo two treatment sessions, sometimes three, in order to achieve a satisfactory result. As there is no inflammation post-treatment, these sessions can be performed on consecutive days.
What to expect after treatment?
You may observe small, dark specks in your lower field of vision immediately following treatment, but these small gas bubbles will quickly dissolve and will not impede vision. It is also important to note that some patients may experience mild discomfort, redness or temporarily blurred vision directly following treatment.
Complications and side effects
Reported side effects and complications associated with vitreolysis are rare. Side effects may include cataract and intraocular pressure (IOP) spike. Rare occurences include possible vitreous detachment.
Who will benefit from vitreolysis?
While some floaters can be effectively treated, several floater types are difficult to treat and/or less likely to regress than others. To that end, it is necessary to first undergo an ophthalmic examination in order to determine your eligibility for vitreolysis treatment.
Generally-speaking, if you suffer from persistent moving shadows in your vision due to vitreal condensations, fibers, strands, and/or clouds, you are a good candidate for vitreolysis.
A number of factors, such as age, onset of symptoms and floater characteristics, will also determine whether vitreolysis is your best treatment option.
SkyVision Centers is one of the only providers in Ohio who has the new state of the art YAG laser with the capability to treat eye floaters. This laser procedure is a way of getting rid of floaters with a precise beam of light through the pupil, which vaporizes the floaters that are obstructing the patient’s vision.
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Educational Videos and Testimonials
“I had floaters that had been pretty bad for the last year and I was getting pretty bummed out about it, pretty anxious about the whole thing and I work in hi-tech nano technology so I have to see small things. After the first treatment session, there has been a 90%-95% improvement in both eyes.” Male
“Doctors have said that there’s nothing they can do about floaters. I had this big cloud that ran across and obstructed my vision, but after laser vitreolysis, now it’s completely gone. It’s just unbelievable. It is a safe and painless procedure, and I highly recommend this procedure to anyone who has floaters.” Male
“I had this floater for over a year, I couldn’t see through it or around it. I was tired. After the laser vitreolysis procedure, I am now able to see clearly. There isn’t a black mass in my eye anymore. I can’t describe how grateful I am, and how amazing it is to be able to see clearly again.” Female
“This was the best thing that I could have done because after my incident, I had a huge floater that would go across my eye that I couldn’t see for a split second. Since the laser vitreolysis procedure, my floater’s gone. I’m so glad I did it.” Female