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Laser/Victrectomy Floater Treatment

I've read in this forum that lasers cannot be used for floater removal yet there are three doctors in the United States who claim otherwise. Has anyone had successful treatment with this method? How successful are victrectomies for floater removal?  
8 Responses
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
This subject has been discussed in minute detail. Use the search feature and archives to pull up those discussions.

Vitrectomies for "garden variety" floaters (which half of people have by age 50 and 75% by age 70). are not considered usual and routine. Given all the ophthalmologists that practice in the USA and that condemn its routine use 3 is a pretty puny number.

Several people who had the procedure (don't expect your insurance to pay for it) still saw floaters after the procedure. Realize risks include loss of all vision, infection, retinal detachment, and cataract formation (very common).

JCH MD
Avatar universal
I developed cataracts in my early 50's.  Had surgery on my right eye in 2004 and my left in 2007.  In 2008 I developed really bad floaters in my right eye.  They came up very quickly.  I went to several eye doctors including the surgeon who did the cataract work.  I was told repeatedly that this was just something I had to live with.  I did my own research and then went back to my eye doctor this winter (2010).  I had already concluded that the laser option was dicey.  I asked about vitrectomy.  He told me that it was very risky (10% chance of major problems).  I said I wanted to see a retina specialist.  By this time, even my eye doctor admitted that he could see that the floaters were really bad.  (I had two of them joined together...it looked like two sea horses joined at the tails).
I saw the retina doctor and she did several tests.  Not only did I have a really bad floater, I also had a macular pucker.  She advised that the vitrectomy procedure and macular repair had a very high success rate.  Especially for a "younger" patient who had already had cataract surgery.  There was less than a 1% risk factor of problems.  And virtually any problem could be repaired with additional surgery.  I said let's do it.  
It's normally done under local anasthetic, but I'm very claustrophobic and said just knock me out. It was a good call, because she also found a small hole in the macula and I was in surgery for 90 minutes. It was outpatient surgery performed at a top notch hospital.  Full recovery took about 10 days, but I had minimal pain and was able to work two days after surgery (no heavy lifting).  I was given a prescription for painkillers, but I never used it. Took a couple of Tylenols the first two nights after surgery and that was it.  I now have clear vision in my right eye. If you have really bad floaters (and I mean really bad), go see a retinalogist.  Floaters can be removed and you may have other issues going on in your eye as well.  I think this is particularly true for those of us who have had prior cataract surgery and are otherwise healthy.  
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I believe the above post is totally wrong and that removing floaters that are annoying is bad medicine.  The risks are not worth taking. The expense to the healthcare system will sink it. Discounting even those if the risk of serious complication is 1% (and I believe it higher) that means 10,000 people will have major problems and some will go completely blind

JCH MD
1416596 tn?1282129222
Hi Doctor

In Italy somebody is telling that in next future enzymatic vitreolysis could dissolve floaters.
But it is not speaking about microplasmin , I think other molecules.

What do you think about this fact?
How long would it take this study?

Bye
Marco from Genoa,Italy
233488 tn?1310696703
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I answered this question once. The drug is experimental. It is being studied to prevent certain forms of diabetic retinopathy from getting worse. It is not being studied to remove annoying floaters something that more than half of us have by age 50.

No country on the face of this earth can afford the cost of doing vitreolysis injections for floaters that are merely annoying.

JCH MD
Avatar universal
Very sorry to hear there is no way to get rid of the floaters. I am 51, but I have had them for years, but about 3 weeks ago they got a lot worse in my right eye. It blurs my vision at certian times and I feel like I am straining to be able to see. Does it ever get to the point that you can not see?
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