Laser Eye Floater Removal
Floaters are common visual disturbances that appear to be specks, clouds or cobweb-like strands drifting in and out of vision. Usually they are harmless but some can become particularly large or aggravating. Dr. Gregory Johnson at Intracoastal Eye is one of the first eye surgeons in North Carolina to offer laser floater removal with the Ellex laser platform. Using this advanced laser, our team can quickly and painlessly remove floaters for an immediate improvement in vision.
What Causes Floaters?
The center of the eye is filled with a jelly-like material called vitreous humor. With age, the vitreous starts to liquify, and collagen fibers within the vitreous can form clumps or strands. These clumps or strands cast shadows on the retina, which causes the appearance of floating dots, specks, strands or cobweb-like apparitions called floaters. Floaters appear to constantly drift or float in the field of vision and do not remain fixed in location. They are nearly impossible to look at directly.
Floaters are more common in older adults or people that have extreme nearsightedness, diabetes or have had cataract surgery.
Most floaters are benign and do not require any medical attention or treatment. However, some floaters can become quite prominent and start to interfere with clear vision and overall quality of life. In these cases, treatment can be warranted.
Also, some cases of floaters, particularly cases where there is a large number of floaters or the floaters are accompanied by flashes of light or peripheral vision loss, can indicate a serious problem with the eyes such as retinal detachment.
In those cases, it is important to be screened by our trusted team. Depending on what we find, you may be eligible for laser floater treatment.
What Is Laser Floater Removal?
Laser floater removal with the Ellex laser is a minimally invasive procedure to reduce or eliminate floaters. It can be performed in our office and normally takes 10 to 20 minutes. Occasionally, more than one treatment session is needed to get the best results. The procedure is virtually painless and results can be seen almost instantly.
How Does Laser Floater Removal Work?
During laser floater removal, we apply low-energy laser light to the eye through a microscope to evaporate the strands or clumps of vitreous that are causing the floaters. The floaters are evaporated into small bubbles of gas, which promptly dissolve and are absorbed by the body.
After treatment, patients usually do not need to wear any eye patches or use special eye drops. Most can go about their normal daily activities without any restrictions.
Side effects of laser floater removal are rare. Some patients have minor discomfort or blurred vision, but serious complications are very unusual.
Are You a Good Candidate for Laser Floater Removal?
We evaluate all patients for laser floater removal on an individual basis to determine their eligibility. We consider each patient’s circumstances, including the severity and characteristics of the floaters, their age and when they first started noticing floaters. All of this information helps us determine whether laser floater removal is a good option for the patient.
Frequently Asked Questions about Eye Floaters
What causes floaters?
Floaters are caused by changes in the vitreous, the clear jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye. With age, the vitreous begins to liquefy. If pieces of undissolved vitreous break free and float around in the liquid center of the eye, the particles cast shadows on the retina. This is what causes the illusion of something floating in front of the eye.
What do floaters look like?
Floaters can appear to be many different shapes, including dots, specks, threads, strands, cobwebs or squiggly lines. It’s nearly impossible to look at them directly, as they appear to dart away quickly if you try to focus on them. Floaters may be more pronounced when looking at a white or light-colored background or screen.
Are floaters harmful?
Most floaters are not cause for concern. However, a sudden increase in floaters — or floaters that are accompanied by flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision — can indicate a more serious problem, such as a tear in the retina or a retinal detachment, and should be evaluated promptly
Am I at a high risk for floaters?
Risk factors for floaters include:
- Advancing age
- Previous cataract surgery
How are floaters treated?
Floaters that are merely an annoyance do not require treatment. Floaters that are large, prominent or numerous in nature and affect vision can be treated during an in-office procedure with Dr. Johnson. Using an advanced laser, Dr. Johnson can evaporate the floaters into gas bubbles that dissolve quickly after the procedure.
Laser floater removal can be completed in 30 minutes or less and it is virtually painless. Sometimes multiple treatments are required to see ideal results.
Contact Intracoastal Eye
For more information about laser floater removal with the Ellex laser, please call or email Intracoastal Eye and request an appointment with our team today.