Welcome back! We are all very excited about this second edition of Eyes Forward where we get to talk about Laser Floater Treatment (LFT). LFT, also known as Laser Vitreolysis, is a non-invasive, painless outpatient treatment option for patients who experience persistent and bothersome floaters. LFT is performed using an ophthalmic YAG laser which vaporizes vitreous strands and opacities. The LFT procedure typically takes only 5 to 10 minutes to perform. Historically, short of doing a vitrectomy, we have all communicated to patients what floaters are, and why we develop them, but we have had no reasonably safe way to treat them, so we told them that nothing could be reasonably done about them. It is now time to rethink this “no treatment” mindset! Now you know where our excitement comes from.
We all see patients with floaters and have listened to them complain about how bothersome they are. What if now, upon hearing this complaint and evaluating the patient to confirm the size and location of the floater(s), we sat back from the slit lamp and let our patients know that we now have an effective and safe, non-invasive option to treat their floaters? That is something that we should all consider because when patients hear that we can finally address their floaters (the very thing that they’ve been previously told could not be treated), they get excited about it, and most say they want to do something about it.
Here is what we can tell you about what the literature says about LFT and how that aligns with our experience:
- The vast majority of patients report significant improvement post treatment
- The average patient requires 1.2 treatments, meaning that 20% of patients will require an additional treatment (or you could say that 80% of patients only require 1 treatment)
In contrast, let’s look at the opposite side of this coin. What about doing a vitrectomy (an invasive procedure) instead? No, thank you. We rarely recommend a vitrectomy for removal of floaters because, even with the most experienced surgeons, the procedure has a high rate of complication (infection, wound leaks), some of which can be serious (retinal tears, retinal detachments or endophthalmitis). Additionally, approximately 50% of patients over the age of 50 get a cataract within the 5-year period following the vitrectomy. For patients younger than 50, the rate of cataract formation is significantly less.
Knowing all of this, Laser Floater Treatment (LFT) using a YAG laser is a vastly better and safer treatment option. Offering LFT to your patients will help you differentiate your practice and allow you to give patients an option that they previously did not have. It’s quick and easy and done right here at EyeCare Associates of South Tulsa. No ASC (ambulatory surgery center) needed! So far, we have performed over 1200 Laser Floater Treatment procedures with no negative sequelae, and we are more excited than ever to be offering this service.
If you have any questions about Laser Floater Treatment, please let us know. We would be happy to discuss it with you and schedule your patients for an LFT consultation.
Until next time!
George Goodman, OD, FAAO
Director of Cataract and Refractive Services
EyeCare Associates of South Tulsa
10010 E 81st St #100, Tulsa, OK 74133
O: 918.250.2020 | C: 405-245-9333 | F: 918.250.8910
Service-oriented, comprehensive eye care in a timely fashion.
Please send your comments and suggestions to DrGoodman@southtulsaeye.com
or call Dr. Goodman at (405) 245-9333 (cell).
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