What Are Floaters?
Eye floaters are spots that appear in your vision. They may look to you like black or gray specks, strings, or cobwebs that drift about when you move your eyes and appear to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid (a process known as syneresis). Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and can cast tiny shadows on your retina. The shadows you see are called floaters.
What Is Vitreolysis (Floater Laser Removal)?
Vitreolysis is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that can eliminate the visual disturbance caused by floaters. The procedure uses nanosecond pulses of low-energy laser light to evaporate the collagen and hyaluronin molecules that cause the floaters. The end result is the floater is vaporized and/or reduced to a size that no longer impedes vision. It is performed on site in our clinic and typically takes less than an 15-20 minutes per treatment session. It may require multiple sessions depending on the number and size of your floaters.
What Happens During The Procedure?
Vitreolysis is performed as an outpatient procedure, you do not have to stay overnight in a hospital. Immediately prior to treatment, your doctor will administer eye drops to provide mild anesthesia. A manual lens will be placed on your eye, with the laser light delivered through a specially designed microscope.
During treatment, you will likely observe small, dark specks/shadows – signaling that the floaters are being evaporated into small gas bubbles. These gas bubbles quickly dissolve and reabsorb into the vitreous.
Once the treatment is complete, your doctor may treat your eyes with anti-inflammatory drops.
Each treatment session typically takes 15-20 minutes to perform and about 80% of patients will have a satisfactory result after only one treatment.
What To Expect Post Procedure?
You may observe small, dark specks in your lower field of vision immediately following treatment, but these small gas bubbles will quickly dissolve. It is also important to note that some patients may experience mild discomfort, redness or temporarily blurred vision directly following treatment and have a satisfactory result.
Meet Your Doctor
Brian F. Williams, O.D.
Board Certified Optometrist
A Board Certified Optometrist and co-owner of EyeCare Associates, Dr. Williams specializes in ocular disease with a wide range of technical training and experience. He is certified in and routinely performs anterior segment laser procedures, Yag laser procedures, photo refractive keratectomy (PRK), glaucoma-related laser treatments, and minor in-office surgical procedures. In addition to his 19 years of clinical experience, Dr. Williams is an experienced lecturer on subjects such as ocular disease, glaucoma, diabetes, and laser vision correction. He is one of the first doctors in Oklahoma using the SmartV laser for vitreolysis in eye floater removal. A past Director of the Oklahoma Optometric Association and a member of the American Academy of Optometry, Dr. Williams is actively involved with the optometric community. He is passionate about caring for his patients and is dedicated to providing the best vision care available.
An Oklahoma native, Dr. Williams was raised in a small farming community in southwest Oklahoma. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Southwestern State University and then graduated from Northeastern State University School of Optometry in 1994. Upon graduation, he completed a residency in ocular disease and refractive surgery in an ambulatory surgical center in Tulsa.
Dr. Williams is a member of the Tulsa Executives Association and a volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Oklahoma where he has been a “big brother” for more than 20 years.