Is there a surgery to remove floaters?

Yes, there are but they should be approached with some prudence.

Laser vitreolysis is performed by a few ophthalmologists using the YAG laser. While there is not much data from controlled studies, it appears to be reasonably effective in those situations where the vitreous is “clumped” in the visual axis behind the natural lens of the eye. The problem is that it often takes a series of repeat treatments. The YAG laser does not really “vaporize” the floaters, but rather breaks them up into much smaller pieces that come to rest outside of the visual axis. Concern has been expressed by some retina specialists that repeat YAG laser shock waves in the eye may damage weak areas of the retina.

The more definitive treatment, pars plana vitrectomy is highly effective and actually quite safe. Still, it is surgery and can have complications, some of which could be serious. The most common one is early formation of cataract (clouding of the natural lens) which would require further surgery to treat.

If the eye undergoing the vitrectomy has already had cataract/lens implant surgery, this will not be the case.

“Floaters” can appear as specks, nets, “bugs,” and veils that slosh back and forth with head movement. They are a very frustrating visual problem in patients that was once brushed off by eye doctors -mostly because in the past there wasn’t much to be done. But I am always impressed with the appreciation patients express for being rid of them post-vitrectomy. No doubt “floater-ectomy” surgery will become even safer and less-invasive in the future.

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