Treating the Previously Untreatable

Proven laser procedure painlessly dissolves eye floaters.

As the facilities manager for Rainforest Cafe® in Sunrise, Truman Griffith ensures the diners are entertained while they eat. The New Jersey native has worked for the restaurant chain for more than 18 years. He has moved from New Jersey to Virginia to Tennessee and most recently to Florida for work, but he doesn’t mind because he loves his job.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Truman can see clearly now that his eye floaters have been dissolved.

“Being a themed restaurant, Rainforest Cafe uses animation, a light show and a water show,” Truman describes. “I’m responsible for keeping those shows operating for our guests. I really like what I do because it’s challenging.”

In the last few months, Truman noticed changes in his eyesight that made his job even more challenging. The problem began in his right eye. He started to see strange spots that interfered with his vision. He subsequently developed similar spots in his left eye.

“Now there were dark spots floating around in both of my eyes,” Truman relates. “In my right eye, the spots looked like curled fingers in the center of my vision no matter which way I looked. In my left eye, they were more all over my eye, like clouds in my entire visual field.

“The spots were quite bothersome, especially in the daytime. If I was outside working or driving in sunlight, I was really bothered by the spots. They were more visible in bright light than dim light. When I watched TV, they glowed from the light of the TV, and when I read with the lights on, the spots made it difficult to see the print.

“I couldn’t give up working or driving, but the spots made it difficult and were very annoying when they blocked my vision. At times, it was like there was a bunch of gnats flying around me because the little black dots moved as I moved my eyes. It was like I was seeing things.”

As soon as Truman realized the spots weren’t going away, he sought advice from his eye doctor, who recommended he visit Peter J. Lowe, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist at Retinal Eye Care Associates. Dr. Lowe subspecializes in diseases of the retina and vitreous. He knew what Truman’s spots were. They were vitreous eye floaters.

“The vitreous is a cellophane-like lining on the inside of the eye,” Dr. Lowe explains. “As the eye ages, or after eye surgery, most commonly to remove cataracts, the cellophane lining will often come loose. Typically, it stays in small, almost completely transparent sheets. Sometimes, however, it clumps up into larger debris fields and casts shadows on the retina. Those are eye floaters.”

An eye floater is essentially the debris that’s left after “a vitreous detachment.” To treat eye floaters, Dr. Lowe uses a noninvasive procedure called laser vitreolysis, which works by dissolving the floaters from the patients’ eyes.
“Dr. Lowe is very knowledgeable, and he explains everything,” Truman states. “He made sure I understood what the possibilities were of fixing my problem. He explained that with vitreolysis, most people achieve vision correction and relief from their floaters.”

“The treatment does not dissolve all of the vitreous,” Dr. Lowe says. “We can, however, significantly diminish or eliminate the cloudiness that occurs when there are clumps of vitreous floaters in the eye.

“We can dissolve the larger opacities that interrupt patients’ vision, leaving only a small amount of residual debris. Patients need to be told what they can and cannot expect from the treatment. Setting realistic goals is important to the procedure’s success.”

Study Validated

“Truman came to us with different types of eye floaters in each eye,” Dr. Lowe observes. “The floaters in his right eye were finger-like strands, which are small bands of collagen floating in the liquid of the eye. The floaters in his left eye were larger, cloud-like clumps that created a duller, more diffuse loss of visual clarity than the strands, which moved back and forth through his vision.

“Many different types of floaters develop when the vitreous detaches from the underlying retina. Sometimes, the vitreous breaks up into large clumps of floating opacities. Other times, it gathers and forms cloud-like opacities that obstruct vision to a greater degree. The cloud-like opacities were responsible for the problems in Truman’s left eye, and the strand-like floaters were causing trouble in his right eye.”

To treat Truman’s eye floaters, Dr. Lowe performed laser vitreolysis twice in his right eye to dissolve the strand-like floaters and twice in his left eye to dissolve the cloud-like opacities he found there. Dr. Lowe explains that the procedure can be performed multiple times without adverse effects if necessary to achieve a successful outcome.

“Dr. Lowe is very knowledgeable, and he explains everything. … He explained that with vitreolysis, most people achieve vision correction and relief from their floaters.” – Truman

Laser vitreolysis is safe, effective and FDA approved for eye floaters. The procedure has been validated academically through research studies conducted at two nationally recognized institutions.

“One study was conducted by The Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, and the other was done at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago,” Dr. Lowe informs. “Both studies confirm the efficacy of vitreolysis and show there is a place for laser vaporization in the treatment of chronic eye floaters when performed by someone with experience.”

Dr. Lowe is the only retinal specialist currently performing this procedure and is the first physician in Palm Beach County to offer it. He has been performing this procedure since 2011.

“These studies confirm my clinical impression of the procedures as well as the subjective observations of hundreds of satisfied patients,” Dr. Lowe points out. “Taking these findings together, it can be said that vitreolysis is the only nonsurgical treatment for chronic vitreous floaters.”

Great Eyes

“My vitreolysis procedures went well,” Truman recalls. “It only takes a few minutes, and there’s no pain involved. The procedure itself was like seeing a bunch of camera flashes. I held still so Dr. Lowe could focus the laser on each floater he saw and dissolve it.

Using laser vitreolysis, Dr. Lowe significantly improved Truman’s vision, and he can now see clearly. Truman is no longer bothered by the finger-like floaters or the clouds that obstructed his vision and annoyed him before treatment.

“My vision is much, much better,” Truman enthuses. “It’s rare that I see a floater in my left eye, and my right eye’s great. Now, I can watch TV, drive and be outside without all the distortion. I don’t see the different shapes in front of me, and I don’t have anything blocking my vision. I don’t feel like I’m looking through a bunch of hairs all the time.

“I’m very happy with my results. I absolutely recommend Dr. Lowe and laser vitreolysis to anyone with chronic eye floaters.”

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    • Retinal Eye Care Associates

      At Retinal Eye Care Associates, they strive to provide the "best eye care in the county." To achieve this goal, Dr. Lowe and his staff actively participate in continuing medical education to remain clinically up-to-date. Additionally, the prac... Read More

    • Peter J. Lowe, MD

      Peter J. Lowe, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist who specializes in retinal and vitreous disease. After completing his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, he received his medical degree from Chicago Medic... Read More