Is there an effective treatment for eye "floaters" or do you just have to live with them?

Vitreous floaters can be quite annoying as you have apparently discovered. They consist of tiny condensations of the vitreous, the transparent jell that fills the eye. Since the vitreous has no purpose after childhood, it just serves as a source of such side-effects in adulthood.

Most vitreous floaters or condensations will slowly go away with no special treatment. Though suspended in the vitreous jell and sloshing around with the movements of the eye, they only have to sink a few millimeters to not be seen. In addition, the brain's "Adobe Photoshop" gradually suppresses your awareness of them over time.

If they do continue to cause significant visual problems, it is possible to treat them surgically. One way is with a YAG laser although some ophthalmologists feel this just makes a few big specks into many little specks. A more aggressive way is a pars plana vitrectomy which physically removes the vitreous and replaces it with saline. But both of these procedures have possible complications that, though rare, should be carefully considered before deciding to proceed.

_Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic