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Experiencing an occasional “floater” — a cobweb or cloudy-like shadow floating around in your visual field — is not uncommon. Most people experience these visual disturbances at some point in their lifetime. But if you experience floaters regularly or the floaters are so big that they hinder your visual acuity, you may be a great candidate for laser floater treatment.
Access Eye has introduced a new laser into our practice that is designed to treat floaters and provide much-needed relief from the symptoms associated with floaters. ELLEX Laser Vitreolysis is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure with a low complication rate. With ELLEX, you will notice an almost-immediate improvement in your visual function with virtually no downtime.
What Are Floaters?
Floaters occur due to changes in the vitreous humor, the substance that fills the center of your eye. When we are young, the vitreous is similar to a gel; with age, the vitreous gradually liquifies and the center becomes watery. Tiny vitreous particles can break loose and float around the watery portion of the vitreous. These particles are what we refer to as floaters. What you actually see is not the vitreous particles themselves but the shadows they cast onto your retina, the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of your eye.
Symptoms of Floaters
Floaters may look like specks, strings, cobwebs or other shapes. They are usually most pronounced when looking at a plain, light background (like a sky or computer screen). Floaters appear as though they are drifting in front of your eyes and will usually float away if you try to focus on them directly.
Although the occasional floater is usually just a nuisance with virtually no effect on day-to-day activities, frequent or prominent floaters can impede visual function and tasks such as reading, driving or using a computer.
A sudden increase in eye floaters, especially those accompanied by flashes of light or a loss of peripheral vision, could indicate an eye emergency. If you experience those symptoms, you should contact your eye doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.
How Does ELLEX Work?
ELLEX is a surgical intervention for severe or troubling floaters. This minimally invasive, in-office procedure offers patients the chance at an improvement in visual function and a better quality of life.
During an ELLEX procedure, a specially designed YAG laser emits short bursts of energy to vaporize the vitreous strands causing the appearance of floaters. The laser energy converts the collagen and hyaluronin molecules of the floater into a gas that is resorbed into the eye.
The procedure takes approximately 10 to 45 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis, so you can return home almost immediately after treatment. You may need more than one treatment to attain optimal results.
There is no downtime, recovery or need for patches or anti-inflammatory drops after treatment. You can immediately resume work or your normal activities.
Frequently Asked Questions about Floaters and ELLEX
Are floaters harmful?
It can be disconcerting to see something floating around in your field of vision. Luckily, in most cases, floaters are not harmful or serious. Rarely do they suggest a sight-threatening condition.
What would indicate that I need to get floaters checked out by a doctor?
A sudden increase in floaters — or floaters that appear in conjunction with loss of peripheral vision or flashes of light — could indicate problems with the retina (such as a tear or detachment). If you experience floaters accompanied by vision loss or flashes of light, you should seek medical attention promptly.
Will my floaters go away on their own?
Many floaters do go away on their own. If they do not resolve by themselves or they become so prominent that they affect your vision and hinder activities of daily living, you may be a good candidate for ELLEX laser vitreolysis. Consulting with our team about laser eye floater removal can help you determine whether the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks.
What is ELLEX?
ELLEX is a laser treatment for floaters. It is commonly assumed that the laser breaks the vitreous strands into smaller pieces; actually, the laser energy converts the vitreous into gas and then the eye promptly absorbs the gas. The result is that the floater is reduced in size or eliminated and no longer interferes with quality of vision.
How many floaters can be removed during ELLEX laser vitreolysis?
It depends on the nature of the floaters and the amount of laser energy required to treat the floaters. If the energy needed to treat every floater exceeds a pre-determined threshold, additional treatment sessions are required.
Is ELLEX treatment painful?
No, the eye floater treatment is virtually painless.
How long does ELLEX treatment take?
An ELLEX treatment session takes between 10 and 45 minutes.
How many treatments are usually needed?
On average, two treatment sessions are required to produce the desired results.
What is the recovery like after ELLEX treatment?
There is no recovery downtime needed after ELLEX treatment. It is performed on an outpatient basis so you can return home after the procedure. You will not have any limitations on your activities and can immediately go back to work or your daily routine. You will be asked to use anti-inflammatory drops after treatment.
Does ELLEX treatment cause aftereffects?
Some patients notice small, dark specks in their visual field right after treatment. However, they are small enough that they do not interfere with vison, and they tend to disappear quickly. Redness, mild discomfort or temporarily blurry vision can occur after treatment.
Are there any risks of ELLEX laser treatment?
There is a risk of increased intraocular pressure, retinal detachment, retinal tear or cataracts if treatment is not performed correctly. Rest assured that our team’s training and experience with the technology reduce the risk of complications.
What are my options if ELLEX does not work for me?
Laser floater removal with ELLEX is highly effective. However, if you have persistent floaters after treatment, our team may advise you to undergo vitrectomy surgery.
Why Choose Access Eye for Floaters Treatment?
Access Eye is part of an elite group of clinics to offer ELLEX laser treatment to patients, and we have the skill set and expertise needed to master this advanced technology. Our doctors care deeply about your ocular health and visual function, and we are always looking for ways to correct problems that impede your vision.
If you suffer from prominent or frequent floaters, we believe that laser vitreolysis with ELLEX could help you achieve an immediate and significant improvement in your visual function and reclaim a better quality of life.
To learn more about ELLEX laser vitreolysis, please call or email Access Eye today.