Have you ever blinked your eyes and then saw circles? Maybe you looked into the sun and saw squiggly lines or cobwebs. These shapes in your vision are commonly known as eye floaters. Many times we blink several times and within minutes these floaters in our eyes disappear, leaving our sight normal. However, sometimes, people see these shapes on a regular basis, never really having clear, unfiltered vision. These people may wish to seek treatment for the issues of eye floaters.
Rittenhouse Eye Associates
Eye Floaters Are Pretty Common
But Treatment Using Laser Vitreolysis is New & Painless
What Are Eye Floaters?
The general understanding of eye floaters is that they are spots seen in the eye when bright light is introduced. However, there is an actual technical definition for why this occurs and what is actually happening in the eye. The back of the eye is filled with a jello-like substance called vitreous, composed of collagen, which people have throughout their body. As we age and expose our body to the world, the vitreous gel can liquefy and the collagen protein sticks together forming protein clumps which ‘float ‘in the eye. When light passes through the eye these clumps cast a shadow on the back of the eye , the retina, which people see as floating strings, cobwebs, veils, or even insects. Sometimes floaters are a result of the vitreous gel pulling off the back of the eye in a process called a Posterior Vitreous Detachment or PVD. With PVDs, people often see flashing lights as well as floaters. People suffering from PVDS should have a dilated eye exam since they are at a risk for retinal holes or tears, which can lead to a retinal detachment.
The truth is over 70% of people will have an experience with eye floaters at least once in their lifetime, whether they develop spontaneously or as a result of a Posterior Vitreous Detachment. Most of the time, these clumps come and go and do not create any real issue. However, many people suffer from significant floaters that permanently impede their vision and may eventually become such a problem that their quality of life may actually be affected.
In the past, most patients have been told to live with their floaters no matter how bothersome. While there are surgeries available, they are invasive and can cause complications, such as retinal detachment, retinal tears, and even cataracts.
Laser Vitreolysis: A New Option for Eye Floaters
Now, there is a new option, Laser Vitreolysis, or laser treatment for eye floaters. The laser painlessly breaks up or reduces the size of the collagen strands and clumps causing the eye floaters. As an outpatient procedure, this is done in the ophthalmologist’s office, wherein the doctor will administer eye drops that act as a mild anesthesia. Once the anesthesia takes effect, a contact lens is placed over the eye and the laser treatment begins. The treatment occurs in sessions that take 20 to 60 minutes and many times can be completed in two or three sessions. The risk of this procedure is much less than traditional invasive surgeries, and we would be happy to discuss them with you.
Dr. Harris of Rittenhouse Eye Associates is a leading Philadelphia area ophthalmologist in practice for over 30 years. Dr Harris is the first ophthalmologist in the city of Philadelphia to purchase the Ultra Q Ellex YAG laser, the only Laser specifically designed to treat eye floaters. To find out if you are a candidate for Laser Vitreolysis, contact Rittenhouse Eye Associates today.