Q: What type of laser is used during treatment?

A: An Nd:YAG laser optimized for use in the vitreous chamber is recommended for use in vitreolysis. In order to visualize the floater and target accordingly, the laser’s light source must be positioned in the same optical axis as the ophthalmologist’s visual axis. Most conventional YAG lasers, in contrast, use a lower angle of illuminating light. Whilst these lasers are well suited to use in the anterior part of the eye, they are ill equipped for use in the vitreous chamber and thereby make it difficult for the ophthalmologist to visualize (and treat) the floater(s).

Q: What happens to the floater during vitreolysis?

A: It is important to note that the laser energy applied during vitreolysis treatment does not simply break the floater into smaller pieces. Instead, the laser energy converts the floater material to a gas, which is then resorbed into the eye.

Using a laser lens placed on the patient’s eye, the YAG laser is focused onto the front surface of the floater. This laser emits a short 3 nanosecond (0.000000003 seconds) burst of energy, which creates a small plasma-state “bubble”. (Plasma, which is the fourth state of matter following 1. Solid, 2. Liquid, and 3. Gas, occurs when the electrons are pulled away from their usual location, creating a high-energy state of the matter.) This process converts the treated floater material into a small gas bubble.

Q: How do floaters affect visual acuity?

A: Unlike LASIK vision correction, which attempts to improve a patient’s visual acuity, vitreolysis aims to improve a patient’s overall quality of vision.

You are probably already familiar with the eye charts used to compare and record an individual’s visual acuity. The most common is the Snellen Chart: a series of letters or letters and numbers, with the largest at the top. As you read down the chart, the letters gradually become smaller. This test evaluates a patient’s central vision. There are other aspects of vision, such as peripheral and color sensitivity, which are harder to quantify and test.

In most post-treatment cases, there is often no improvement in recorded (Snellen Chart) visual acuity. The optics of the eye do not change with treatment. Instead, vitreolysis aims to remove the visual hindrance caused by the presence of floaters, thereby contributing to a significant improvement in a patent’s quality of vision.

Q: What is the probability that quality of vision will improve following vitreolysis?

A: On average, most patients can expect a 60-90% improvement in the mass and/or amount of floaters following vitreolysis. Every eye is different and there are a number of variables that affect the outcome of treatment. Some floaters, for example, are located too close to the retina and cannot be safely treated.

It is also important to note the majority of patients will need to undergo two or three treatment sessions in order to achieve a satisfactory result.

Q: How many floaters can be removed during a treatment session?

A: The number of floaters to be treated depends on the type of floater(s) and the laser energy required to treat the floater(s) (that is, to convert the floater material into a gas). During treatment, your ophthalmologist will monitor the level of laser energy used for each shot, as well as the total amount of energy delivered to the eye during treatment. In order to ensure safe, effective treatment with minimal patient discomfort, if these energy levels fall outside a pre-determined range then any remaining floaters will need to be treated in a subsequent treatment session.

Q: What is the Premacular Bursa?

A: This is an anatomical space found between the vitreous humor and the retina. In the majority of cases, floaters are situated in the vitreous humor. However, in young patients floaters can be found in the Premacular Bursa area, right on top of the retina. These floaters are microscopic in size, yet appear to be quite large to the patient because of their proximity to the retina. Unfortunately, the microscopic size of these floaters and their location makes them difficult to both visualize and treat.

Patient Resources

Vitreolysis Educational Brochure

Download this brochure (in English) to learn more about floaters and the treatment options available to you, including YAG laser vitreolysis. Brochure also available in German and Italian.

Vitreolysis Educational Video

It’s Clear Skies Ahead
Video Interview with Con Moshegov, MD (Australia)

Also known as floater laser treatment, vitreolysis is a pain-free procedure that can eliminate the visual disturbance caused by floaters. It is performed in your ophthalmologist’s office and typically takes 20-60 minutes per treatment session. Watch this video interview with vitreolysis expert Dr. Con Moshegov, to learn more.

Don’t Let Eye Floaters Cloud Your Vision
Video Interview with Paul Singh, MD (USA)

If you suffer from vitreous strands and opacities (commonly referred to as “eye floaters”), then you are already familiar with the frustrating visual disturbance caused by these cobweb and cloud-like shadows. Vitreolysis is a non-invasive, pain-free procedure that can eliminate the visual disturbance caused by floaters. Watch the video interview with Dr. Paul Singh, MD, to learn more.