Flashes and Floaters

FLASHES AND FLOATERS           

I have things floating across my vision. What can I do to reduce these floaters?

Understanding Flashes and Floaters in Vision

It is quite common that at some point in your life you will experience flashes and floaters. Although mostly associated with the aging eyes it can happen for a variety of reasons even for younger people. Flashes and floaters consist of small spots or specks, sometimes even looking like molecular strands floating over your vision. Floaters are more routinely seen on illuminated backgrounds. Flashes of light may also be associated with floaters or may occur separately. Most of the time flashes and floaters are related to the jelly-like substance called vitreous which fills approximately 80% percent of the eye. When we get older, the vitreous fluid undergoes an aging process where this substance becomes more liquid and less jelly-like. The floaters are basically protein deposits that have formed within the vitreous fluid.

The sudden onset of flashes or floaters can be an important warning signal of impeding problems. Approximately 1 in 10 people who develop the abrupt onset of prominent floaters or light flashes in an eye will be found to have a retinal tear. This retinal tear can be detected in a dilated eye exam.

Seriousness of Floaters

Floaters can be a serious problem, however; in most cases the problems are not serious. Please consult your eye doctor directly before trying to diagnose the severity of this condition. If you are seeking a Cleveland area flashes and floaters eye care physician please complete our website contact form and we can arrange an appointment.

Floater Treatment – Laser Vitreolysis

Laser Vitreolysis is the latest in the removal of floaters. Laser floater removal is a very simple out-patient procedure which only takes a couple hours in the office. The procedure is very quick and non-invasive allowing most patients return to normal activity within a day. Laser Vitreolysis is a highly effective procedure with a low complication rate resulting in increased patient satisfaction. Your eye surgeon will use a YAG laser to vaporize the vitreous strands, eliminating floaters’ impact on vision. During the procedure, the YAG laser is used to create a small plasma explosion in the vitreous to break up each floater in the eye. This is also referred to as “floater blasting”. The laser lens is placed on the patient’s eye where it then emits short bursts of energy to complete floater blasting. The vaporization process doesn’t just break up the floater into smaller pieces, the laser energy turns the floaters into gas. This gas is then absorbed into the eye, eliminating all signs of the floater.

The procedure itself is pain-free and typically takes about 20-60 minutes per treatment session. On average, patients will require two treatment sessions to achieve a satisfactory result. The goal of vitreolysis is to achieve a “functional improvement”. That is, to allow you to return to “normal” day-to-day activities without the hindrance of floaters.