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Floaters and Floater Removal

Blog Post

Floaters are spots that “float” around in one’s vision.  They’re often noticed when looking at things in a bright background such as at the sky or a computer screen.  Surveys suggest that almost 70% of people notice them at least sometimes in their vision. In and of themselves, floaters are benign. Sometimes they can range from being bothersome, to blurring, or even blocking vision.  In some instances they can significantly impact quality of life. Although typically harmless, if you notice an abrupt appearance of new-onset of floaters you should seek care from an eye doctor quickly, as they can be associated with retinal tears or even a sight threatening retinal detachment.

Where Do Floaters Come From?

In most cases floaters consist of progressively clumping collagen or connective tissue in the vitreous jelly. Sometimes they are made up of calcium, blood, white blood cells, or other substances. New floaters that appear suddenly are often associated with the vitreous jelly pulling off the back of the eye–called a posterior vitreous detachment. If you have observed a sudden increase in floaters you should be seen by an eye surgeon quickly.

Removal of Floaters

Floater removal is reserved for people who’s quality of life is affected by their floaters. An FDA-approved laser treatment can be used to safely eliminate or reduce different types of floaters. It is important to note that some people are not candidates for the procedure. The laser can be used to completely vaporize floaters or used to move them away out of the center of vision. Success rates can range from 50% to 95% depending on the type of floater being treated. The procedure is simple and done in the office setting. The eye is dilated, a special lens is used to keep you from blinking while the laser is applied. Typically, there is no pain. Total treatment time is usually around 10 minutes. Afterwards, there is no special care. Sometimes multiple treatments are required.

For those who are not candidates for laser, other options exist such as specialized drops to reduce symptoms or a surgery called a “vitrectomy”.

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Brimhall Eye Center Northwest Las Vegas Office

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Deciding between treatment options is hard. It’s really hard.

That’s why we have a team of counselors to help you weigh your options and choose which surgery or treatment is best for you. After you meet with one of our eye doctors, you’ll sit down with one of our counselors, Andrew, Lolita, or Char, and they will walk you through your doctor’s recommendations.