Are There Reliable Eye Floaters Treatment Options?
It is uncommon for people to look for eye floaters treatment but it is common among those with folks who have already gone through eye injury, inflammation, or eye surgery. As a fact, no treatment exists for floaters that are not a result of retinal tear, detachment, or a hole. At present, no particular or universally endorsed medical treatment exists for eye floaters. Similarly, no trials or proofs exist to show that diet changes, exercises, or vitamins help significantly.
After diagnosis showing that there is no fundamental pathology, you should wait for some time to check if the floaters go away naturally. Medical aid is only necessary when the situation becomes unbearable such as blocking clear vision, eye pain, or sight loss.
Right now, a few medical techniques are available as eye floaters treatments but they are neither a standard approach nor widely practiced methods. Because floaters are benign, several ophthalmologists are of the opinion that the likely treatment benefits do not overshadow the prevalent risks.
However, the good news is that most eye floaters do not need a treatment. While coping up with them that usually takes time, it is possible to ignore them easily with time. In case they are bothersome, it is easy to move them away from the vision area by eye movement up and down. This moves the fluid more effectively in eyes rather than moving from one side to another.
Vitrectomy, a microsurgical procedure, is suggested in case the floaters are quite numerous as well as dense enough to affect your vision. It involves removal of the clear vitreous jelly in the eye’s core chamber. The name vitrectomy derives from the manner in which the surgical instruments are used via the Pars Plana (PP), one of the three eye layers forming the eye, which is a thin flat area.
When eye floaters unfavorably affect the vision and remain worrisome even after many weeks, the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests a pars plana vitrectomy, which is a type of surgical procedure. Pars plana vitrectomy or PPV usually relieves several conditions intimidating the eye health or obscuring light. However, due to a considerable risk profile, this surgery is only preferred when floaters obscure vision or notably alleviate the quality of life.
Procedure: In vitrectomy, the surgeon uses a microscope to observe the inner area of the dilated eye, which is accompanied by special lens offering a clear picture of the eye’s back. In case of the conventional 20-gauge PPV, a replacement fluid such as salt solution is added through a sewed infusion line for retaining the eye’s shape at the time of surgery.
Further, two petite incisions are made via which a cutter and light pipe are put to remove the vitreous and add a provisional vitreous substitute such as silicone oil, expansile gases, and perfluorocarbons. Once the removal is done, the tools are removed and incisions or cuts are sutured. Alternative illumination sources such as chandelier lights are used in case of two-handed surgery.
Recent Discoveries: Recently, instruments of thinner gauges such as 23-, 25-, and 27-gauge have resulted in sutureless and smaller incisions in a few patients. Moreover, Transconjunctival Sutureless Vitrectomy or TSV has evolved, featuring canulas or small tubes being passed via pars plana as well as petite instruments being passed via these tubes. Eventually the chamber will be refilled by aqueous humor, a clear watery substance that the eye produces. The solution is slowly replaced by new vitreous that the body produces naturally.
Complications: After operation, a patient might face some complications namely, infection, retinal detachment or bleeding, and nuclear sclerosis cataract. However, these complications along with those that may rise during operation might not occur in eyes with recognized PVD featuring detached vitreous. Although the risk of these complications is small, they can damage the vision permanently in case they occur. Therefore, most surgeons will suggest vitrectomy only when floaters are resulting in significant vision loss.
Expectations: Vitrectomy does not remove the floaters fully. You can still expect new floaters to form later, especially if the surgery leads to bleeding and retinal tears. Regarded as a complex procedure done by a specially trained ophthalmic surgeon, vitrectomy experts usually have several techniques to choose, which differentiates the approach and outcome amongst them.
A laser surgery may be an essential option when the vision impairing floaters are the outcome of a detachment or a retinal disorder. In this technique, a laser is aimed at the unwanted particles in the vitreous for breaking them apart and making them less apparent.
Also known as laser vitreolysis, this eye floater treatment utilizes a special laser called Neodymium: Yttrium-Aluminum Garnet (Nd: YAG) for vaporizing floaters. The Yttrium-Aluminum Garnet laser is already in use in other eye surgeries such as peripheral iridotomy. However, it is not with the same settings in vitreolysis, to prevent the floater from fragmentation. In vitreolysis, the YAG laser is set a bit higher and varies in terms of type such as Microrupter II laser and Zeiss. With lasers, the following types of floaters can be treated:
- A big degenerative fog hanging in the line of sight with strands
- 1-2 small to moderate sized floaters
- Weiss rings
- Numerous, free-floating, and big clumps in the vitreous (often tough to treat but possible across sessions)
- Small marginal floater moving through the middle line of vision with eye movements (challenging as they it is close to the fovea)
Procedure: The pupil is dilated and a numbing drop along with distinct contact lens is given. Now, the laser set to a 6-micron spot is used meticulously used to reposition the big floater. This kind of disruption facilitates the eye to soak up remaining particles. The disruption is performed through a beam of intangible light via the pupil, without any discomfort or incision. Once vaporization is done, tiny particles might be left out, as they are too small to target. As per number and type of floaters, the process can take 5 to 30 minutes.
Outcome/Expectations: There are no limitations on activities after operation. However, in one sitting, not all floaters shall be removed, due to lack of adequate laser focusing because of a misty cornea and insufficient shots up to 500. In case the shots are over 1000, it can lead to an increased intraoculair pressure. The success rate depends upon the position as well as type of floaters. According to Dr Scott Geller, in those below the age of 35, laser therapy cannot be used as treatment due to the close proximity of floaters to the retina in pre-macula bursa area. Usually, it is hard to quantify the success of lasers on floaters, as in some cases there might be no changes or even worsening of floaters can be experienced.
Complications: Generally, there are no such complications as existing in case vitrectomy. While improvement might be noticed in some after laser therapy, others might experience no difference. In fact, if laser is handled improperly, it can even harm the retina.
Laser vitreolysis is usually safer than surgical vitrectomy, because it is not that invasive as the latter. Although several studies state this therapy as an eye floaters treatment, no published evidence stating clearly about its efficiency and safety exists. Moreover, the procedure is not widely practiced, perhaps because it is a difficult procedure to learn and master in absence of formal guide or training.
- Relax your eyes by covering them with palms (rub them first) for 10 seconds and repeating it for at least 5 times, daily
- Rolling your eyes by moving your head to face the ceiling and rotating eyes in a clockwise and anti-clockwise motion slowly (repeating 10 times)
It is possible to remove floaters but only after treating it with the doctor’s guidance.