Vitrectomy for Floaters: Is It a Viable Treatment?

By Gordon Wong, OD on September 17, 2018

Vitrectomy eye surgeryThe vitreous gel is an essential part of the eye’s anatomy. Over time, you may notice some floaters appear in your vision. This is often related to issues with the vitreous gel and possibly even other structures of the eye. Most patients with floaters will not require treatment, but sometimes our eye care specialists here in La Jolla, CA will recommend a victrectomy, a vision procedure that replaces all of the vitreous gel inside of the eye.

The team at Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry would like to consider some of the basics when it comes to floaters and your vision. We’ll then note when a vitrectomy may be a good option to consider.

About Floaters

Floaters are the little particles and stray bits that appear in your field of vision from time to time. Many people liken floaters to lint, dirt, or cobwebs. These flatters are most apparent when looking at a blank white wall or up at a clear blue sky.

While floaters can be annoying, they are not necessarily an issue that requires treatment unless they show up suddenly in a large concentration or they interfere with normal everyday tasks, such as reading or driving.

What Floaters Might Indicate

When floaters are minor, they typically indicate the normal nature of your vision as a result of the aging process. More serious floaters that affect vision and appear very suddenly could be signs of retinal tears, retinal detachment, or even foreign objects lodged within the eye.

The retina is the thin tissue at the back of the eye that’s essential for good vision. Floaters that impact your vision tend to indicate some sort of problem with the retina, as the tissue is broken and possibly floating free in the vitreous gel of the eye.

Testing for Potential Causes

To determine the exact cause of the floaters, eye care specialists will run a series of diagnostic tests. Pupil dilation will give eye specialists better ability to examine the interior structures of the eye as needed. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and retinal photography may also be used to examine the eye and really get a sense of what, if anything, is wrong.

When Is a Vitrectomy a Good Option for Floaters?

Generally speaking, a vitrectomy is only recommended when there is a disorder that cannot be treated through non-surgical means. That could mean addressing retinal tears and retinal detachment, removing foreign objects from the eye, and performing other kinds of vision treatments for serious vision problems.

For less serious problems with floaters, your eye care specialist may recommend less invasive therapies to address the little specks and spots in your vision. Laser treatment may be ideal in these instances.

What to Expect During a Vitrectomy

During a vitrectomy, patients are given local anesthetic to prevent discomfort and soreness. The eye surgeon carefully removes the natural vitreous gel of the eye and replaces it with a clean saline solution.

The Results of a Vitrectomy

Following a vitrectomy, serious problems with floaters should no longer be an issue for patients. Their visual field will be much clearer, and any retinal problems should be resolved with varying degrees of vision restoration.

Learn More About Vitrectomy

To learn more about treating floaters and how we can help you, be sure to contact our team of vision and eye care experts. The team at Gordon Wong Eye Designs & Optometry is here to help you. You can reach our La Jolla office at (858) 454-4699 and our Del Mar office at (858) 755-9465.

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