Laser Floater Removal: Non-Invasive and Virtually Pain-Free
Floaters are tiny particles or pieces of debris that appear to drift around in the field of vision. They are shaped like spots, strands, lines, clouds or cobwebs and never stop moving. Everyone has experienced the occasional floater — they are very common and usually harmless. Most of the time, floaters do not need to be treated and simply disappear on their own.
However, persistent floaters may indicate that something more serious is happening within the eye. Large, prominent floaters can be obstructive and require medical attention to protect vision.
The traditional way to remove floaters was to perform a surgical procedure called vitrectomy. However, Metrolina Eye Associates offers a safer and less invasive option: laser floater removal.
What Are Floaters?
Floaters become more common with age because the vitreous — the substance that fills about 80 percent of the eye — changes in consistency. When we are young, the vitreous has a gel-like consistency, but with age, it starts to liquefy. Particles of the vitreous that have not liquefied can float around in the liquid center of the vitreous. As the pieces drift around the center of the vitreous, they cast shadows on the retina as light passes through the eye. What you see is the shadow of the particles.
Floaters don’t follow the movements of your eye, and seem to drift away when you try to look directly at them. Floaters may be more noticeable when looking at something bright, like the sky or a computer screen with a white or light-colored background. They tend to settle at the bottom of the eye below the line of sight.
People who are severely nearsighted, diabetic or have had cataract surgery are more likely to experience floaters.
When Floaters Are Serious
A sudden increase in floaters can indicate something has happened with the structures of the eye (especially if the increase is combined with flashes of light). Sometimes, floaters occur because a section of the vitreous is pulling the fibers away from the retina all at once, which is called vitreous detachment. This can cause the retina to tear or develop a small hole and the vitreous can enter the space.
Other times, a sudden increase in floaters can happen because the retina is being pulled or lifted from the back wall of the eye. This is known as a retinal tear or detachment and is a serious emergency. Without medical attention, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss and blindness.
Laser Floater Removal
Floaters do not require treatment unless they are bothersome or too numerous to ignore. In the most serious cases, floaters may interfere with daily functions.
Metrolina Eye Associates treats floaters with The Ellex Laser Floater Procedure, a non-invasive outpatient procedure that removes floaters painlessly. During the procedure, a laser delivers pulses of light to break up or vaporize large floaters. The floaters disappear or become less prominent, and the field of vision improves.
During laser floater removal, the eyes are completely numbed for patient comfort. Treatment is performed in our office and takes 20 to 60 minutes to complete.
Laser floater removal is much safer and less invasive than traditional vitrectomy, which has a high risk of bleeding, infection and other complications. The laser approach has shown to be extremely successful in clinical studies, and more doctors are offering the treatment.
Discuss Laser Floater Removal with the Team at Metrolina Eye Associates
If you experience large or bothersome floaters, find out whether The Ellex Laser Floater Procedure, is right for you. Call or email Metrolina Eye Associates today to schedule a consultation.