What causes floaters?

In the center of everyone’s eye is a gelatinous like substance call the vitreous. As we age that substance starts to thin and become liquified. Components that make up the vitreous begin to move around and across our central vision. We refer to these as floaters.

There are many different types of floaters. A floater can be a small black or brown dot, a long string or a circle. Sometimes there is a collection of small floaters that form into a large substance of debris that appear as a haze.

What problems do floaters cause?

Most floaters are harmless and other than being an annoyance, don’t affect vision. Sometimes a floater can rest directly in the line of site, which can be noticeable and disabling to some degree (see figure 1 or link to video: ). Occasionally new floaters can be an indication that the vitreous is separating from the retina and a prompt examination for retinal tears and detachments is important.

Will my floater ever go away?

Floaters generally don’t leave the eye on their own, however, people tend to get use to them. The process of adjusting to floaters can take several months. In about 5% of people with floaters for one reason or another the brain never learns to ignore them. In these people the floaters can be visually significant and even disabling.

I have floater, what can I do?

Other than just observing them, there are two commonly recommended treatment options: laser and surgery. Laser can be effective on select types of floaters, specifically, single floaters. The laser breaks up a larger floater into smaller pieces. This doesn’t help with the majority of floaters as it usually turns one big problem into many little problems. Recently, floater surgery has become very popular. With the development of small gauge instrumentation, a retina specialist can remove your floaters entirely with minimal risk. The recovery is very quick, and most insurances cover the procedure.

How well does surgery work at resolving floater symptoms?

Floater removal surgery is extremely effective at removing floaters and their symptoms. It is a permanent solution and patients rarely see their floaters again. In addition to removing their floaters, patients have mentioned improvement in their vision clarity, night driving, glare from lights, increased color saturation, and visual definition.

<2>What can I expect on the day of surgery?

Your surgical visit will take about 2-3 hours. Generally you will need to arrive about 1 hour before your scheduled surgery time. The surgery takes about 10 minutes and then you are taken back to the recovery room. Most people sleep through the entire surgery.

In the recovery room you will be monitored and given some care instructions for recovery. Once you are feeling yourself and are stable you can go home. This usually takes around 30 minutes.

Does the floater surgery help?

All of my patients, so far, have loved being floater free. While I have never had floaters, the impression that my patients give me when describing the change, they experience is comparable to wearing a pair of tinted sunglasses and then taking them off and realizing the change in colors. Many patients didn’t even realize how much change the floaters had caused until after they were removed. In my experience many of my patients who initially only had floater symptoms in one eye end up having the floaters removed out of the other eye because of the drastic improvement they see with the surgery.

If you have persistent floaters and would like to be know if floater surgery is right for you can schedule an appointment here .

Here are a few responses that patients have given since having their floaters removed:

“I am so happy I could kiss you. It has really been a pleasure” H. Sandefur

“Doctor Ellingson told me he wanted to get rid of my floaters so I could see how handsome he was. And my is he handsome”. J. Gates

“Everything went good on it. I am doing great.” C. Lechner

“Fantastic because you did the job, I just had an amazing fantastic eye doctor. You can quote me on that and if you don’t quote me, Ill get on TV and say it. Everyone was amazing and fantastic.” Gasaway, D

“My vision is great. Before surgery it was like a solid gray film. I didn’t actually see floaters but just a solid gray and everything didn’t seem clear. Right away after surgery when the patch came off my vision was clear. I didn’t have the cloud. I also see much better at night with increased clarity and reduce glare.”

“Go for it! I would recommend it very highly. I can believe the difference it made in my eye. The next day everything was clear again and I didn’t have all those spots. I was just amazed. It is my good eye now.” L. Msuraca

“I haven’t seen this good in a long time. It really is great!”