Laser Treatment for Floaters: YAG Laser Vitreolysis
If you’ve been seeing more dark shapes or cobwebs in your vision, it might be time to consider laser treatment for floaters. Floaters are normal, but if you notice an increase in their occurrence, or if they are beginning to interfere with your daily life, you should contact a retina specialist immediately. You don’t have to put up with floaters forever –– laser vitreolysis doctors at Eye Center of Texas can help. See how this new treatment for eye floaters can provide relief.
What are floaters?
Floaters are caused by microscopic fibers in your vitreous, the jelly-like material that fills the space between the lens and the retina in your eye. Collagen, an important protein that makes up part of the vitreous gel, is usually the primary culprit of floaters. These cast shadows on your retina and lead you to see dark spots, specks, clouds or other visual anomalies.
Why am I seeing more floaters now?
As we get older, the sac in our eye that contains vitreous gel begins to separate from the rear eyewall causing clumps of collagen to break up or clump together to create more floaters. This condition, known as macular pucker, can lead to a serious impact on our quality of vision, making even normal tasks like reading or watching television difficult. While this can sound trivial, it also poses a risk while driving as floaters can lead to dangerous distractions on the road.
An increase in floaters might also point to a more serious eye problem. It might be a symptom of severe diabetic retinopathy, an excess of glucose in the blood vessels of the retina. Vitreous detachment can lead to retinal tearing or even retinal detachment. So if you are seeing a large amount of floaters in one or both eyes, seek medical treatment immediately.
Is there a treatment for eye floaters?
Thanks to rapid advances in medical laser technology in the recent decades, what once would have required invasive surgery can now be treated quickly and with only minimal discomfort and side effects. Laser treatment for floaters, or YAG (yttrium-aluminum-garnet) laser vitreolysis is a procedure in which a laser targets floaters with pinpoint accuracy. These clumps are then broken up or dissolved by the laser. This new treatment for eye floaters now provides immediate relief from floaters without the risks associated with surgery.
What is the YAG laser vitreolysis procedure like?
Laser treatment for floaters is done in a short 10 to 15 minute procedure. Beforehand, our retina specialists may need to perform an OCT (ocular computerized tomography) to identify the location and size of the floaters in your eye using an infrared scan. Numbing eye drops or local anesthetic will ensure you feel minimal discomfort. A special device is used to ensure that your eye stays open and a magnification lens will focus and target on the floater or floaters. The YAG laser will focus on the floater(s) and vaporize them into a gas that is reabsorbed by the eye. In the event that the floater is particularly large or located near an important structure in the eye, you may need to schedule more than one visit.
After the procedure, you will need to come in for follow up checks to ensure the procedure was successful. You should experience relief from floaters within 30 minutes. There might be some discomfort initially, but it should go away quickly. You should avoid driving for a day or two after the procedure and be very careful around your eyes. If possible, you might want to take a couple days off work afterwards. Be sure to attend your follow-up consultations and take any medications or eye drops as prescribed.
Is laser treatment for floaters safe?
While YAG laser vitreolysis is very safe, like any medical procedure, it is not without risks. These include increased intraocular pressure resulting in glaucoma, inducement of cataract following surgery, retinal tear, retinal detachment, retinal hemorrhage, and increased quantity of floaters. But it is important to note that these are extremely rare. According to a comprehensive study of all YAG laser vitreolysis procedures between September 19, 2016 and March 16, 2017, only 15 patients reported any complications related to the procedure.
As with any medical procedure, speak with your doctor if you have any concerns concerning YAG laser vitreolysis.
Am I a good candidate for laser treatment?
If you are experiencing floaters that impact your daily tasks like reading or driving, or last for more than four months, you might want to consider laser treatment. However, it is important that you do not have more serious eye problems such as retinal tears or detachments, cataracts, or clouding of the cornea or lens. You can still have laser treatment for floaters if you have had cataract surgery.
Learn more about laser treatment for floaters from a specialist at Eye Center of Texas
Now that you have more information on laser treatment for floaters, the retina specialists at Eye Center of Texas are here to help you with any questions and floater treatment options you may need. We have years of experience treating eye diseases and vision issues with only the safest, most advanced surgical techniques and technology.
Give us a call at 713-797-1010 or request an appointment online at any of our convenient locations today.
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