Laser Floater Treatment
Southside Eye Care in Chesapeake, VA is announcing the introduction of a new laser that performs Laser Vitreolysis; a highly effective treatment for correction of vitreous opacities – commonly referred to as floaters. Floaters are quite common, affecting as many as 70% of all people at some point during their lifetime. While floaters are only a nuisance for some, many others experience significant visual disturbances they classify as a quality of life issue. These patients complain of floaters disrupting their ability to read, drive and otherwise function normally.
This minimally invasive, in-office procedure can provide much-needed relief from the symptoms associated with floaters; which are known to bother many people as they approach middle age.
What are Floaters?
Floaters are bits of debris formed in the thick internal gel of the eye called the vitreous. They may look like strings, cobwebs, specks, or blobs. These floating particles cast shadows on the retina and drift across your field of vision when you move your eyes or try to focus on them.
At Southside Eye Care, we utilize a specialized laser to target and vaporize the floaters, reducing the shadows cast onto the retina.
Learn More About Floaters
What causes floaters?
Most floaters are caused by changes in the vitreous of our eyes as we age. The vitreous is a thick jelly-like substance that fills our eyes. As we age, the vitreous becomes more liquid. These changes may cause microscopic collagen fibers in the vitreous to clump together, or the vitreous may separate from the retina, leaving strands that had secured the vitreous – to float freely within the vitreous. These clumps and strings of collagen cast shadows on the retina at the back of the eye, the shadows are the floaters you see.
Who has floaters?
Everyone has at least a few floaters, but they tend to increase as we age. Studies have shown that about 25 percent of people have changes in their vitreous by age 60, creating more floaters. About one third of people with floaters feel their floaters really interfere with their daily activities.
When are floaters an issue to address?
Floaters are a common issue many people must deal with and many experience more floaters as they age. However, a sudden significant increase in floaters is a reason to see your eye care provider immediately. This is especially true if the increased floaters are accompanied by flashes of light or loss of peripheral vision. These sudden changes may indicate a torn retina and requires immediate attention to avoid potential vision loss.
Floaters are often a minor annoyance and require no intervention at all. In fact, until recently there was no treatment for these annoying and sometimes significant visual disturbances. So if you have been struggling with what to do about your floaters – we have an answer for you. Laser Floater Treatment (LFT) is now possible, available and local.
What do floaters look like?
What is laser treatment for floaters?
Until recently the only treatment solution for floaters was removal of the vitreous, an invasive surgical procedure known as a vitrectomy. However, with introduction of a specialized laser, a second, non-invasive option is now available for treatment of floaters. Laser Floater Treatment uses laser energy to “lyse” or break up and vaporize the clumps and strands that float in the vitreous. There are no incisions and little discomfort.
How is laser floater treatment done?
If Dr. Keverline establishes that you are a good candidate for Laser Floater Treatment (LFT), he will perform the procedure here at Southside Eye Care using the Ellex Ultra Q Reflex YAG laser. The laser was designed specifically for treating floaters.
You will first have a mild anesthesia delivered via eye drop and a contact lens will be placed on your eye
Dr. Keverline will then use the laser to deliver a measured laser light through a specially designed microscope. During the treatment, Dr. Keverline aims the laser at the floaters in the vitreous, delivering microsecond bursts. The laser energy targets the clumps and strands of collagen, lysing and vaporizing much of the collagen. You may see small dark specs or shadows during or after treatment. These are gas bubbles which will quickly dissolve and be absorbed into the vitreous.
The procedure takes 20-30 minutes.
The procedure to treat floaters uses a specially designed YAG laser to vaporize the vitreous strands. During the procedure, the laser emits short (3 nanosecond) bursts of energy. This laser energy does not simply break the vitreous strands into smaller pieces, but rather converts the collagen and hyaluronin molecules within the floater into a gas, which is then resorbed into the eye.
Recent studies have demonstrated a low complicated rate for Laser Vitreolysis. Most patients will experience an almost immediate improvement in visual function and are able to return to normal day-to-day activities directly following the procedure.
Am I a candidate for laser floater treatment?
Not all floaters can be effectively treated with lasers. But if you suffer from persistent visual disturbances, moving fibers, strands, and/or clouds, you are likely to benefit from laser floater treatment.
Dr. Keverline evaluates each patient to identify those who are the best candidates for Laser Floater Treatments (LFT). The type of floater, location within the vitreous and proximity to the retina are all considered.
See What our Doctors are saying
“We are excited to be amongst an elite group of clinics in the United States to offer this life changing procedure to our patients,” says Dr. Keverline, Medical Director at Southside Eye Care.
“Typically, many of my patients describe floaters as ‘strands’ or ‘blobs’ obstructing their line of vision which can significantly affect their day-to-day activities. Patients may have been told that they should just learn to live with their floaters or if they are particularly severe or troubling, they should consider a surgical intervention. We are so pleased to be able to offer these patients a non-surgical; minimally invasive procedure that offers the potential to deliver a notable improvement in functional vision.”
“Since commencing this treatment in my practice, I have come to appreciate the negative effect that floaters can have on a patient’s quality of life. To date, the overwhelming response from my patients has been that floaters pose a major hindrance in their daily lives. As clinicians I believe we must embrace the growing need to manage floaters – we can no longer diminish the impact that they can have on a patient’s quality of life.” added Dr. Keverline.
Laser Floater Treatment FAQs
What is the benefit of having laser floater treatment over other options?
There are limited options for treatment of floaters that interfere with your vision. The first is a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy, in which the vitreous of the eye is surgically removed and is replaced with a solution. This is invasive surgery and has numerous risks involved.
A second option is now available and offers non-invasive laser floater treatment (LFT). This second option can dramatically reduce your floaters, is painless and can immediately improve your vision. The risks associated with LFT treatment are very low, and if issues should arise, known risks are manageable.
The last option is to do nothing. Truly this has been the only realistic option for so many – for so long. But if your floaters are interfering with the quality of your vision and your life, laser treatment is a promising new option.