Eye Floaters & Flashes Symptoms & Diagnosis

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What Are Eye Floaters?

Eye floaters are a frequent symptom experienced by many adult patients. Floaters occur due to a common age-related change occurring inside of your eye. The inside of our eyes is filled with a clear substance called vitreous humor. The back layer of tissue in our eyes is called the retina. The vitreous humor completely fills the space inside of our eyes, and thus, is pressed up against our retina (think of the air inside of a soccer ball as your vitreous humor, and the interior wall of the soccer ball itself as your retina!). The Vitreous Humor is attached to the retina through millions of tiny, microscopic collagen fibers.

When we are born, the vitreous humor is more gel-like (similar to Jell-O!). As we age, the vitreous humor becomes more liquified (think of water!). As our eye is undergoing these organic changes, our vitreous humor naturally and spontaneously shrinks away and separates from the retina in the back of the eye. This is called a PVD, or posterior vitreous detachment. A PVD is normal and happens to everyone as we age! Sometimes, as the vitreous jelly separates during the course of a PVD, it can tug on the retina and potentially create a retinal tear or detachment. That is why it is important to have your eye floaters evaluated quickly!

The collagen fibers that were once used as glue to attach your vitreous humor to your retina, are now floating around inside the center of your eye! These collagen fibers can clump together, creating the floater(s) you see in your vision!

Patients who experience floaters will often describe them as mobile dark spots, spider webs, threads, specks, or snake-like opacities in their vision. Many people may mistake their floaters as a small bug close to their eye that they need to swat away! The floaters themselves will follow along with the motion of your eyes, and are most recognized in bright light or against white walls.

Call For an Laser Eye Floater Appointment Today!

How do you Diagnose Eye Floaters?

If you are experiencing floaters, especially new ones, you should seek a prompt dilated examination with an ophthalmologist. This will allow an in-depth look into your eye to visualize your floaters. Our office also utilizes a unique video, which allows us to see your floaters and what they look like as you move your eyes about.

Are my Floaters Dangerous to My Eye? Can They Cause Harm?

Floaters themselves are not dangerous or harmful to the eye. They do not damage your eye or cause pain, but more so are a nuisance and cause for frustration. Though, it is important to note that floaters can sometimes be the result of a different, underlying problem inside of the eye, other than the natural progression of aging.

Patients that experience a sudden onset of many new floaters could potentially have a retinal tear or retinal detachment. Many times, patients will also experience flashes at the time of new floaters, and may even describe a “curtain” in their vision that does not go away when they move their head. If this is the case, it requires immediate medical treatment. It is important to have your floaters evaluated quickly so that you can be appropriately treated.

How do you Treat or Remove Floaters?

Our office recognizes how bothersome floaters can be. Many patients state that their floaters interfere with things they love doing on a daily basis – walking on the beach, reading a good book, or even playing their favorite sport! We want your vision to be the best it can possibly be, so our office provides two potential treatment plans in order to address your chronic floaters. Dr. Shane and Dr. Brugger will evaluate and recommend which procedure is most beneficial for you based on your specific needs!

There are two treatment options available:

  1. Laser Floater Treatment (A.K.A. Vitreolysis)
  2. Surgical Floater Removal (A.K.A. Vitrectomy)

Laser Floater Treatment (A.K.A. Vitreolysis)

Here at Retina Care Consultants, we are one of the only retina practices in Florida to be able to provide this treatment to address your nagging floaters!

This option is an in-office procedure and is most suited for patients who are experiencing few, large floaters for at least 6 months.

During the procedure, we will visualize your floaters with a unique video. This allows us to see precisely the size, shape, and make-up of the floaters in your vision. Yes – we will be able to see exactly what you see! Next, Dr. Shane or Dr. Brugger will place a magnification lens on your eye. They will then use a laser to emit a short pulse of energy onto your floater, vaporizing the majority of the floater. This creates a less visually disabling floater, with only small wisps of the original floater remaining in the eye.

Surgical Eye Floater Removal (A.K.A. Vitrectomy)

This option is an outpatient, surgical procedure where the vitreous jelly inside of your eye is completely removed and replaced with a clear saline solution.

This option is most suited for patients that are experiencing multiple, diffuse, or cloud-like floaters, and have significant interference with activities of daily living.  The advantage of vitrectomy is that all eye floaters are removed permanently.  This painless surgery lasts approximately 15 minutes under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center.  There are no significant restrictions following surgery, and eye floaters are immediately resolved.

If you have been dealing with eye floaters for at least 6 months, please give our office a call to schedule a consultation for a floater evaluation!

Are there risks for these procedures?

Laser floater removal is a non-invasive procedure with a low risk for complication.  Rarely, laser energy may cause a retinal bleed or lens damage.  Surgical removal of floaters involves a 1% to 2% risk for retinal detachment in the weeks or months following vitrectomy.  Patients who have not yet undergone cataract surgery can expect the earlier-than-expected formation of cataract following vitrectomy.

Dr. Shane and Dr. Brugger will explain all of the risks, benefits, and alternatives to treatment with you during your evaluation and recommend which option is best for you!

How many floater treatments has your office done?

Dr. Shane and Dr. Brugger have performed hundreds of floater treatments – both Laser and Surgical!  It makes us so extremely happy when our patients tell us that their vision has significantly improved following a floater treatment, once again reminding us of our goal to improve every patient’s vision!

I’ve Had Cataract Surgery Already, Can I still Undergo a Floater Treatment Procedure?

Yes! Patients who have had Cataract surgery already are still able to receive one of the two floater treatment options above. You should discuss with Dr. Shane or Dr. Brugger which option is best for you!

Will my Health Insurance cover or help pay for a floater treatment?

Dr. Shane and Dr. Brugger are in-network with most major health insurance plans, and both floater treatment options are often covered by your insurance, subject to your preexisting co-pays and deductibles! Our office will obtain authorization with your insurance before performing a procedure. When calling to schedule a floater evaluation appointment, feel free to ask one of our staff members more about this so we can answer any questions you may have!

Do I need a referral for a floater evaluation?

No! You do not need to be referred by another healthcare provider. If you are experiencing floaters, especially new ones, it is important to have them quickly evaluated.

Call For an Laser Eye Floater Appointment Today!

Before Laser Floater Removal By Dr. Brugger and Dr. Shane

After Laser Floater Removal By Dr. Brugger and Dr. Shane

Before and After Laser Eye Floaters Treatment by Dr. Brugger and Dr. Shane

Patient 1 Pre-Op

Patient 1 Post-Op

Before Vitrectomy Floater Removal by Dr. Brugger and Dr. Shane

After Vitrectomy Floater Removal By Dr. Brugger and Dr. Shane

Vitrectomy Floaters before and After Eye Floaters Treatment

Patient 1 Pre-Op

Patient 1 Post-Op

Call For an Laser Eye Floater Appointment Today!