What is Laser Floater Removal?

Laser floater removal, or YAG laser vitreolysis, is a procedure intended to remove vitreous floaters (or vitreous opacities) from the eye. Floaters do not represent a health concern, they are simply clumps of protein within the vitreous gel in the center of the eye which cast shadows, causing the perception of a small cloud within your field of view.

Occasionally, a small section of vitreous gel may pull away from the retina all at once, leading to a noticeable sudden increase in the number of floaters you see. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). It’s nothing to worry about and can be addressed with laser treatment.

In rare cases, the development of floaters can be a symptom of a retinal tear or retinal detachment which requires surgical intervention. This is why new onset floaters should be evaluated by a doctor just in case.

Vitreolysis uses nanosecond pulses of laser light to essentially evaporate or vaporize these vitreous strands or deposits and restore clear, unaffected vision.

Who is a Candidate for Laser Floater Removal?

Most patients who have floaters within their field of vision are good candidates for laser floater removal. Patients above age 40, those who are near-sighted, and those who have had a previous eye surgery are more likely to experience floaters. Generally, ophthalmologists do not recommend laser floater removal unless patients have floaters that persist for 3-6 months, as they typically resolve on their own before this time. An eye exam is also performed prior to the procedure to ensure your eyes are healthy enough to complete the treatment.

What is the Laser Floater Removal Procedure Like?

Laser floater removal is an outpatient procedure that can be performed at Boston Vision. First, you will receive numbing eye drops so you remain comfortable throughout the procedure.

A YAG (yttrium-aluminum-garnet) laser is used to vaporize the floaters. Your specialist will direct the YAG laser at the floaters. Through this process, you will likely see spots or shadows as the floater is destroyed. The YAG laser treatment can typically be completed within 20 minutes.

Recovery After Laser Floater Removal

After laser treatment, you may experience some discomfort or redness which should resolve quickly. Some patients also experience temporarily blurred vision. Finally, small spots may be visible in the eye for a short time following the procedure. These are the vaporized floaters that temporarily remain in the eye as small gas bubbles.

Schedule an Appointment

To see if you are a candidate for laser floater removal, schedule an appointment at Boston Vision. To schedule your appointment, book an appointment online or give us a call at 617-202-2020.

Laser Floater Removal is available at all our locations: Brookline, Milford, Medford, Lawrence, Wellesley, and Andover.

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