Millions of people have been living with seeing bothersome spots, squiggles, or shadows drift through their field of vision, without finding a solution. These visual nuisances are caused by bits of protein floating through the vitreous fluid of the inner eye that cast shadows on the retina and appear in the visual field as “floaters” (as they are commonly known).
While in the past there was no effective treatment for floaters, this is no longer the case. If you’re experiencing bothersome floaters, take heart, and read on.
Floaters are Common
The first thing you need to know is that floaters are quite common. On average, approximately one-quarter of people have some degree of vitreous opacity (floaters) by the time they turn sixty. By age eighty, that number rises to two-thirds.
Surprisingly, people who are nearsighted or who’ve had cataract surgery are more likely to have floaters. Though floaters are harmless in and of themselves they become problematic when they become large enough to obstruct significant portions of the visual field.
Unfortunately, about one-third of people who experience floaters report that they seriously interfere with their daily activities. Understandably, those suffering from this degree of visual disturbance have long been hoping for a solution that restores their unobstructed field of vision.
Back in the 1980s, ophthalmologists tried to resolve the issue of floaters by using a laser to break them up into smaller pieces to minimize their negative impact. However, most physicians advocated against this approach as it became understood taht lasers weren’t yet sufficiently accurate to target floaters while leaving the rest of the eye anatomy unscathed. This meant that laser treatment might successfully destroy a floater, but at the same time might harm the lens or retina or other portion of the eye, potentially making the “cure” worse than the condition it was intended to treat.
But in the decades that followed and laser technology became increasingly sophisticated and capable of reliably targeting only the areas of the eye in need of treatment, floaters could be safely targeted, instantly vaporized, and successfully treated. Today, laser technology for treating floaters has been perfected and is a regular part of ophthalmologists’ treatment arsenal.
A vitrectomy is another alternative to treating eye floaters. During this procedure, an eye doctor removes the vitreous fluid and any floaters found within it through a small opening, replacing it with a solution to maintain the shape of the eye, which triggers the body to produce new vitreous fluid.
While this procedure can be effective, it is invasive and is not always successful. If the procedure results in any bleeding or trauma, the eye floaters may form again. For this reason, laser treatment of floaters is the safe and superior choice since it is non-invasive, carries virtually no risk, and is highly effective.
If you’re experiencing bothersome floaters or any other visual disturbance or discomfort, it’s time to see a doctor with advanced training, extensive experience, and the latest technology. Here, at OCLI, we deliver all three and provide comprehensive solutions to your every eye care need. Reach out to us today! We’ll be happy to hear from you!