Make Eye Floaters Disappear

Laser gently vaporizes floaters to restore clear sight.

After cataract surgery, John Taggart’s vision was crisp and clear at 20/20. A decade later, he noticed changes.John Taggart has laser treatment for eye floaters by Stephen M. Weinstock, MD, at The Eye Institute of West Florida.8AS

“At my annual eye exam, they asked me how I was seeing, and I said, Not as good as I used to,” recalls John.

John lives in Orlando, but relies on The Eye Institute of West Florida in Largo for eye care. The excellent results he received from Stephen M. Weinstock, MD, who performed John’s cataract surgery, keep him coming back for annual check-ups.

“John’s vision dropped down to 20/30,” notes Dr. Weinstock. “We needed to find out why.

“I checked to see whether anything had changed in John’s eyes. Was his macula okay? Was his cornea okay? Was his optic nerve okay? And everything checked out perfectly,” continues the skilled ophthalmologist.

“I then asked John, if he looked in a certain direction, whether he saw something like a veil come across his vision, and he said yes.”

Dr. Weinstock did another examination that not many ophthalmologists include in their evaluations. He closely examined the vitreous of John’s eye, the gel-like substance that fills the eye’s interior and gives the eye its round shape.

“I looked to see if there was anything in the main body of his vitreous that could be blocking his vision,” explains Dr. Weinstock.

The examination revealed several veil-like floaters within the vitreous. Floaters are common and nearly everyone gets them, especially as they grow older. They occur as the vitreous gel breaks down and fibrous tissue sticks together. Often, people will notice floaters; they appear in and out of the field of vision as tiny specks, spots or cobwebs.

At 70, John was at the age where floaters are common. The veil-like clumps of floaters within his eyes had an effect similar to looking through a piece of cellophane. He could see, but not as clearly.

At one time, doctors had to tell patients that even when floaters are annoying, the best approach is to do nothing and learn to live with them. Surgery became an option to remove floaters when they severely impair vision.

A recent advancement in laser technology is now offering a nonsurgical solution for people like John. It’s called vitreolysis, which is a painless, in-office laser procedure designed to vaporize floaters. The process takes only minutes and doesn’t require post-procedure eye drops.

Eager to regain keener eyesight, John decided to have the procedure.

Opening the Veil

In some cases, the sudden appearance of floaters can indicate a medical emergency, advises Dr. Weinstock. They may indicate a tear in the retina, which can progress to retinal detachment without treatment. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is lifted or pulled away from the back of the eye and has the potential for permanent vision loss.

“Patients will call and say, I’m experiencing what looks like flashing lights and floaters and There’s a spot in front of my eye,” continues Dr. Weinstock. “When this suddenly happens, it’s what is called posterior vitreous detachment. We bring them in immediately to be checked. If there is a tear, we need to seal it to prevent retinal detachment.”

Most of the time, however, floaters are more annoying than threatening. A few weeks after their first appearance, the brain adjusts to their presence, and the floaters become less noticeable.

“People may not always notice floaters, but everyone gets them sooner or later,” explains Dr. Weinstock. “If they happen to be in your line of sight, however, where they interfere with you seeing clearly, they will affect your vision significantly.”John Taggart has laser treatment for eye floaters by Stephen M. Weinstock, MD, at The Eye Institute of West Florida.8AS

Dr. Weinstock calls veil-like floaters – the kind that John was experiencing – anterior vitreous clouding syndrome, or AVCS.

“We can use the laser to open up these veils and vaporize some of the floaters to make vision clearer. The laser can also shrink larger floaters that are obstructing vision into many small floaters and then vaporize them,” he educates. “There is no heat associated with the laser procedure, or any trauma.”

The treatment has proved effective for Dr. Weinstock’s patients.

“Using the new laser to treat floaters, we’ve seen an eighty to ninety percent improvement for most patients,” he notes.

Everything Is Brighter

“I had the procedure in Dr. Weinstock’s office,” shares John. “It was painless, and I didn’t feel a thing. It didn’t take a long time – it seemed to me about ten minutes.”

After Dr. Weinstock targeted the floaters within John’s eyes, the laser vaporized them in gentle, split-second bursts. John could see them dissolve.John Taggart has laser treatment for eye floaters by Stephen M. Weinstock, MD, at The Eye Institute of West Florida.8AS

“I would see the floater and then after Dr. Weinstock used the laser, the floater would disappear,” remarks John. “It’s pretty amazing what they can do now.”

The result was similar to what John experienced after cataract surgery. Colors were brighter and his eyesight was clearer.

“When I called John the next day to check on him, he was ecstatic,” remarks Dr. Weinstock. “The laser had eliminated the cloudiness caused by the floaters and allowed his sight to be restored.”

John appreciates Dr. Weinstock’s dedication to making advancements in ophthalmology available to patients and how it led to John’s better eyesight.

“Dr. Weinstock’s care is excellent,” he enthuses.

Adding a new treatment for floaters is in keeping with The Eye Institute of West Florida’s mission to provide the most advanced technology and innovations in patient care.

“No one has to live with troublesome floaters anymore,” assures Dr. Weinstock. “There now is a painless, uncomplicated procedure that can reduce or eliminate them.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Photo courtesy of John Taggart. Graphic courtesy of Graphic from mkb
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