A new study out of Wisconsin’s Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha proves the YAG vitreolysis laser surgery procedure can be used to successfully remove eye floaters. This finding could soon change the way eye doctors treat this common eye problem.
In total, 680 people who suffered from eye floaters participated in this study. All of these patients had the YGA vitreolysis procedure and were tracked by researchers for four years. Study authors wrote that at least 98 percent of patients said the surgery helped improve the quality of their vision. Less than one percent of these patients reported adverse side effects.
This relatively simple surgery can take place in a certified eye doctor’s office. Before the procedure begins, the doctor applies a few dilating drops to the patient’s eyes. As the doctor turns on the laser device, patients may feel a painless buildup of pressure in their eyes. A YAG vitreolysis usually lasts no longer than 30 minutes.
What we know as “eye floaters” are actually fibers from the eye’s back vitreous layer. Eye floaters become more common as people age because the vitreous layer shrinks and its fibers form clusters. These clusters can move around the vitreous layer and the resulting shadows are what we see. Most people who have eye floaters describe them as either thread-like or tiny circles.
One-quarter of people over the age of 60 have some degree of eye floaters. Eye floaters are far more common in myopic patients than in the general public.
Unfortunately, the only treatments now available for eye floaters involve invasive surgery. Most people who have eye floaters try to manage their symptoms rather than undergo these risky procedures.
Inder Paul Singh, who works as an ophthalmologist at the Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha, was the lead author of this study. Dr. Singh told the press he believes this new laser surgery will soon become a mainstream practice. He is especially hopeful this YGA vitreolysis procedure will help cataract surgery patients who complain of eye floaters.