Eye Floaters Following Cataract Surgery?

Visit the experts who have performed 20,000 laser sessions …

and counting.

With cataract surgery being performed at the earliest stages of vision impairment in people over the age of 55, the appearance of a huge eye floater that blocks a person’s vision, even intermittently, can be a big step backward.

“About 50 percent of the patients we see come to us complaining of disabling eye floaters following successful cataract surgery,” says board-certified ophthalmologist Scott L. Geller, MD, founder of the South Florida Eye Clinic and a pioneer in the field of treating these pesky floaters.

“Eye floaters can range from being merely annoying to being severely disabling. They can be especially hazardous to someone who is driving, performing dangerous tasks that require precise vision, has only one functioning eye, has suffered an eye injury, or suffers from a condition such as macular degeneration or lazy eye (amblyopia).

“We excel in clearing these obstructions, even in the most difficult of cases. That’s why we’ve had patients from all over the world come to our facility specifically for our leading-edge treatment.”

Dr. Geller offers an advanced laser technique that he brought from Switzerland and refined to the precise level it’s at now.

While in Switzerland, Dr. Geller studied the treatment of diabetic retinal membranes under Franz Fankhauser, trailblazer in the use of the YAG Laser in the eye. Since then, Dr. Geller has performed more than 20,000 eye floater laser procedures, possibly the world’s largest clinical series of patients. As such, he specializes in a field few eye doctors can.

“Patients often ask me, Why can’t my local doctor laser eye floaters?” Dr. Geller states. “The answer is because this is a niche area of interest, and many ophthalmologists will not take the time to really study and perfect it. It’s a bit like plastic surgery. Any intern can make an incision and stitch skin. But it takes years of experience to size up a patient, know exactly how to modify a technique and get the absolute best result possible.”

Understanding the Patient

This is especially true in patients who have recently undergone cataract surgery and are experiencing eye floaters.

“During cataract surgery,” Dr. Geller educates, “the ophthalmologist removes the clouded natural lens of the eye, which lies behind the iris, and replaces it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens implant. After cataract surgery, the vitreous gel, where the floaters are formed, can move from its normal resting position. As a result, large clouds and opacities in the gel that were outside the patient’s central vision prior to surgery suddenly become visible.

“These clouds are not the little worms or fibers that we all see against a clear sky and can either be somewhat amusing or quite annoying to us. They are large masses of fibers that look like large balls of cotton candy. Patients typically say, It looks like I have a grease spot moving across my field of vision, or I look down to read and the letters become blurred.

Dr. Geller says these descriptions often befuddle ophthalmologists, many of whom fail to ask patients the right questions regarding their vision problems and then make the wrong diagnosis.

“They’ll mistakenly determine that the patient’s blurred vision is due to haze or scar tissue on the membrane that supports the new intraocular lens implant,” Dr. Geller testifies. “They will then perform a procedure called a capsulotomy, which opens the membrane, but the patient comes out with no relief and is totally frustrated.

“In other cases, patients presenting with these complications will be offered an invasive operation called a vitrectomy, where instruments are inserted into the eyeball to remove the mass that is floating in the vitreous gel.

“But there are risks associated with vitrectomy that do not happen using a laser, since nothing is inserted into the eye itself during the laser procedure. The laser enters the eye without any incision, the same as the light rays that allow us to see. It’s quite easy compared to a traditional cutting operation, and it’s done right in the office.”
To teach other ophthalmologists, Dr. Geller presented a scientific lecture titled “Unnecessary Capsulotomy Surgery Due to a Missed Diagnosis of Vitreous Eye Floaters” at the prestigious American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery in Boston and at the International Congress of Ophthalmology in Berlin.

“No ophthalmologist had ever presented this before,” he reveals. “We can only hope the word spreads. The most important thing to make the correct diagnosis is to listen to the patient and ask the right questions. Sometimes, in a busy office, doctors lose sight of this and the fact that they don’t need expensive instruments and testing to diagnose vitreous floaters. It only requires the doctor asking the right questions.

“And while the treatment we offer for this is a technique that many are not adept at, it’s easy to learn. In fact, all any ophthalmologist has to do is come by our facility. We share our knowledge and skills freely.”

Indeed, Dr. Geller has presented his technique and results at major ophthalmology meetings worldwide. His first was at the International Congress of Ophthalmology in Singapore.

Other presentations include four lectures in China and lectures at the Italian Ophthalmology Congresses (where he examined patients and trained other ophthalmologists in the laser technique), the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Florida Society of Ophthalmology, the American Osteopathic Ophthalmology Society, the World Congress of Ophthalmology in Istanbul, Ziv Medical Center in Israel, Rush Medical College in Chicago and many others.

“Our internal review of patients is ongoing, and we presented potential complications at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the largest and most prestigious meeting of ophthalmologists worldwide,” Dr. Geller adds.
“Our mission is to teach other eye surgeons the correct technique, so they can apply their knowledge to patients worldwide.”

So how does the procedure work?

A laser beam enters the eye and creates a microscopic pulse that pulverizes or dissipates the obstructive material. Small floaters can be cleared in one session, but larger eye floaters may require two, three or even four sessions. This is because there is a limit to the amount of laser energy that can be applied at one session. In addition, there is often some debris that needs to be cleaned up.

The best part about the process is that it presents no risk of internal infection that can cause loss of the eye. Pain or even mild discomfort is unusual, and Dr. Geller prides himself on his high level of concern for
patient comfort.

Finding Dr. Geller

Patients seeking treatment from Dr. Geller are advised to call rather than email his office. Dr. Geller confides that patients often find him in a roundabout way, and they come from all over the world.

“We’ve had patients from Siberia, Turkey, China, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Arabia, Scandinavia, Russia, India and some lesser-known places,” Dr. Geller explains. “We’ve trained colleagues from the United States, Holland and Italy, where I also lectured and treated patients. European medicine has advanced dramatically.

“And the laser I use is top of the line, Swiss made by the famous LASAG company. There is no equal in precision and safety. And no colleague has ever published in peer-reviewed medical literature a safety record that exceeds ours. We are at the top of our game. And that is reassuring to patients. Safety is foremost, as it should be with any medical procedure.

“And while I get a professional fee, which covers me, the staff and the facility, I have to say with all honesty that I do this work for my pleasure, the challenge and the unique benefit of doing something positive for patients who have been told by their own doctors, Sorry, but you’re just going to have to live with this. Nothing
can be done.

“At South Florida Eye Clinic, we do the impossible. We constantly learn and improve. And we will give an honest opinion to potential patients. If we don’t believe we can get them to the degree of success they want, we are totally forthright. We do not want patients going back to their home ophthalmologist with a less-than-
successful outcome.”

Article submitted by Scott L. Geller, MD


Print This Article
    • South Florida Eye Clinic

      South Florida Eye Foundation has been the world's premier eye floater treatment center for more than 25 years. Laser treatment of eye floaters is their specialty. Eye floaters can range from the merely annoying to the visually disab... Read More

    • Scott L. Geller, MD

      Scott L. Geller, MD, is board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Rush Medical College. While in medical school, he was awarded a student fellowship to study tropical medicine at a m... Read More