Floaters

PATHOLOGY

The vitreous body is a transparent gel like substance that fills the eyeball cavity and represents its most voluminous component. It has a nutritional purpose for the tissues that are inside the eyeball, an optic function since it enables the light rays coming from the outside to arrive to the retina, and a mechanical support function, since it ensures the maintenance of the consistence and form of the eye and contributes to the adhesion of the retina to the eye fundus. In a young healthy eye the vitreous body has a perfectly transparent homogenous composition; this enables the undisturbed passage of the rays of light from the external world to the retina without interferences or deviations.  Over the years, the chemical-physical composition of the vitreous body undergoes certain modifications, which can lead to the formation of conglomerates of collagen fibers and cells. These accumulations remain suspended in the vitreous floating in its interior and in the presence of light they project their shadow on the retina. These shadows are perceived as small spots in the visual field referred to as as  floaters, flying flies or myodepsies.  The floaters  can present very different forms and size (small dots, circles, lines, clouds or spiderwebs), they are more commonly notes when one looks at a unicolored background, such as, e.g. a white wall or a clear sky, and seem to move in the visual field together with the eye movements. The floaters that form because of the natural transformation of the vitreous body are not harmful or dangerous for the health of the eye and usually do not interfere to a great extent with the vision, therefore in these cases it is not necessary to intervene in any manner.

TREATMENT

If the patient is able to live with the presence of floaters, a periodical monitoring is generally advisable, aimed above all at excluding any retinal involvements, since the same floaters will have a tendercy over time, due to the gravitanional effect, to drop in the lower portion of the vitreal cavity, no longer involving in this way the optic axis and being no longer perceived by the patient. If their presence is not bearable for the patient, several treatments can be taken into consideration. When the floaters interfere with the optic axis, but their number is not high and their size is not very large, a new nanosecond laser treatment can be used referred to as vitreolysis.  In order to be able to perform this treatment under safe conditions the vitreal bodies must not be in a position that is not too close to the retinal surface or the crystalline lens: therefore, before suggesting to the patient a laser treatment it is appropriate to carry out a scan in order to correctly localize the position of the floaters and confirm the suitability to this type of treatment. The treatment lasts a few minutes and requires pupil dilation. Vitreolysis is usually able to restore a normal vision and the treatment can be repeated if new floaters should appear.

Under certain circumstances, such as for example in very shortsighted patients or suffering from intermediate or posterior uveitis, or from recurring eye inflammations, these floaters increase enormously and the patient has a very poor and limited vision, therefore, it can be necessary to intervene by means of Floaters-only Vitrectomy (FOV), a true surgery that must be carefully evaluated with one’s own ophthalmologist if not strictly necessary.

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If you believe that you are suffering from this pathology or you have any doubts that you wish to be clarified you can contact us.

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