Those Annoying Floating Specks in Your Vision

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Millions of people who put up with seeing annoying specks drift through their field of vision may now have a safe, high-tech solution to their problem. A study of patients who had laser treatment to vaporize these flecks and spots known as floaters, showed a very low complication rate, according to research presented at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Additionally, most patients reported a significant improvement in their vision.

Eye floaters are a general term describing the specks, threads, cobweb-like images, or large clouds that can occasionally drift across the line of vision. Most floaters are bits of a protein called collagen. They’re part of a gel-like substance in the back of the eye called the vitreous. As you age, the vitreous slowly shrinks and forms opacities of varying size and shape. What you see isn’t the floater itself, but the shadow it casts onto the retina. Floaters can move as your eyes shift.

“The new laser technique is slowly growing in acceptance, and an increasing number of ophthalmologists are adopting it in Europe and the U.S.,” said Dr. Singh. “We have also founded the International Ophthalmic Floater Society, which is open to ophthalmologists worldwide. It’s aimed at studying the merits of this and other treatment options, sharing experiences and protocols, and raising awareness.”