Vision Scotland : Everything you need to know

Treating floaters

Transform your vision with fast, precise
and painless laser eye surgery treatment.

what are floates

Vitrectomy (treating floaters)

In a very small number of cases, Vitrectomy Surgery is recommended in the treatment of “floaters” in the eye. Since floaters are largely harmless surgery is not generally advocated. However, for some patients the floaters may cause significant visual symptoms that affect the quality of vision and their ability to work. In such cases the vitreous gel maybe removed through an operation called vitrectomy.

Some eye specialists may offer YAG laser treatment for floaters. We do not recommend or offer this type of treatment.

What is a floater?

Patients often describe floaters as moving or floating opacities in their vision that may look like cobwebs, dots or lines. Floaters tend to be more frequent in short-sighted people or are typically seen as we get older.

Floaters typically form as the vitreous gel in the back of the begins to break down. The vitreous is a jelly like substance found in the back of the eye. It helps in providing structural supports for the eye as it develops in the womb. At birth, the vitreous gel is a clear and is firmly attached to the retina, the light sensitive film at the back of our eyes. However, as we age the vitreous begins to breakdown into small debris that floats around the back of the eye. The breakdown of the vitreous is associated with a separation of gel from the retina. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment, abbreviated to PVD.

Floaters are generally harmless and represent a normal and natural ageing changes in the vitreous. However, for a minority of patients, floaters may be extremely debilitating.

patients waiting for surgery
risks of surgery

What does the surgery involve?

Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure in which the vitreous gel is removed from inside your eye. The operation is done through microscopic openings in your eye, using keyhole surgery. Sometimes these openings are closed with a small stitch at the end of the operation, but these dissolve after 4 to 6 weeks. You will usually have a pad and shield over your eye after the operation, which will be removed the next day.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The majority of patients find that following surgery vision is clearer and the floaters have significantly improved. It may not be possible to remove every single floater and it is important to understand this. Your surgeon may offer combined surgery should you already have a significant cataract at the time of floater surgery.
what is a macular hole
surgery risks for floaters

What are the risks of surgery?

Vitrectomy is a surgical procedure in which the vitreous gel is removed from inside your eye. The operation is done through microscopic openings in your eye, using keyhole surgery. Sometimes these openings are closed with a small stitch at the end of the operation, but these dissolve after 4 to 6 weeks. You will usually have a pad and shield over your eye after the operation, which will be removed the next day.

What are the risks of surgery?

The surgical risks are extremely low, but we do routinely see all patients at two weeks post-surgery to monitor for complications, including:
  • The development of a cataract is common after this type of operation but it can be treated easily with standard cataract surgery
  • A retinal tear or detachment
  • A mild or severe infection inside the eye
  • Complete loss of sight (less than 1:1000 chance)
  • In some cases, a gas bubble is inserted into the back of the eye to support the retina. In even fewer cases, this bubble may cause pressure in the eye which can cause damage if not treated.
eye examination after surgery
what does the surgery involve

After the operation

The surgery is considered low risk and low impact, but your eye will feel uncomfortable, gritty, and itchy for a week or two. It may also look red or bruised. Regular pain relief is usually enough to treat the discomfort.

You will receive eye drops to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Your eye will heal over the next 6 to 8 weeks but your vision might continue to improve for several months following the surgery. If a retinal tear develops during surgery your surgeon may put a bubble of gas inside your eye to stop the retina from detaching. In this case you may have to posture with your head in a certain position, and your vision will be blurry until the gas disappears.

You must not fly until the gas has disappeared as the bubble will expand and damage your eye. You must also not have nitrous oxide anaesthetic for the same reason. It is normal to have some discomfort after any operation, but you should contact Vision Scotland should you have any concerns.

Vision Scotland : Eye care specialists

Why have treatment with Vision Scotland 

Surgery

All surgery is carried out by the same surgeon you see in consultation.

Experience

Our surgeons are all highly experienced with more than 10+ years’ experience in refractive surgery.

Nursing

Experienced, caring nursing and optometrist team.

Approved

HIS approved purpose-built facilities.

Equipment

State-of-the-art diagnostic and surgical equipment.

Support

Robust, extended aftercare plans as part of package.

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