Pop Magazine

Eye floaters and their treatment by vitreolysis

11 July 2018

Eye floaters or vitreous floaters are like dark spots that move in the visual field of the affected subject. They are often described as “flying flies”. They can take the shape of dots, circles, lines or can be more diffuse like cobwebs. The Michel Pop Clinics provide you with an explanation this phenomenon and suggest you remedy it through a process called vitreolysis.


Understanding the formation of Eye Floaters

Before explaining what eye floaters are, do you know what vitreous is?

The vitreous is a gelatinous and transparent substance that represents 90% of the total volume of the eye. It fills the area between the lens, located in the front surface of the eye and the retina, located at the rear surface. The vitreous helps maintain the shape of the eye and lets light into the retina.

Eye floaters are small gelatinous masses of collagen that form in the vitreous, like lumps or filaments. The spots perceived are the shadows formed by the floating bodies on the eye’s retina.


Eye floaters, should you worry?

Although these flying flies are usually insignificant and often associated with the natural aging of the eye, if they are accompanied by light flickering, it is possible that it is a detachment of the vitreous which can cause a tear of the retina, and subsequently a retinal detachment.

If you see flickering or flying flies, a consultation with your ophthalmologist or optometrist will eliminate the possibility of a retinal detachment. If these spots are indeed eye floaters, you can then decide whether or not to have vitreolysis treatment.

In some cases, patient’s brains adapt to these eye floaters. By the same token, the brain can ignore these spots that become less and less noticeable to the patient, and therefore less and less annoying.

On the other hand, if the eye floaters appear suddenly in large numbers and form a cobweb that obstructs your vision and causes a part of your visual field to darken, then you must go to the emergency room as it could be retinal detachment, a rare and serious visual problem that requires surgery.


The treatment of eye floaters by vitreolysis

Vitrolysis is a non-invasive treatment, which means that it is not a surgical procedure but an outpatient treatment that does not require hospitalization.

Treatment by vitreolysis is not painful. Drops, intended to dilate the patient’s pupil and anesthetize the eye, are administered before the procedure.

During vitreolysis, the ophthalmologist uses YAG laser pulsations to dissolve floating bodies. Depending on the case, a second or even a third laser session may be necessary.

After the procedure, the patient may experience mild discomfort and redness of the eye, which will only be temporary. The next day, the patient will be able to resume his daily activities.


Are you a good candidate for vitreolysis treatment?

Consulting an ophthalmologist is essential before thinking about a treatment by vitreolysis because not all patients are eligible for such an intervention.

Several factors are considered by the ophthalmologist during the evaluation:

  • Age: Patients younger than 45 years of age often have microscopic eye floaters located very close to the retina. These are not good candidates for vitreolysis treatment.
  • Symptoms: The rapid appearance of eye floaters is often associated with the formation of a Weiss ring, which can very well be treated by vitreolysis (not to be confused with retinal detachment that requires surgery).
  • The characteristics of eye floaters: Patients with eye floaters, located at a distance from the retina and clearly defined in shape, are the best candidates for treatment by vitreolysis.

Finally, if the vitreolysis intervention is not sufficient to remove all eye floaters, surgery is possible. The Michel Pop Clinics will guide you towards the solution best suited to your case.