Eye Floaters

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections

Common Eye Problems and Infections

Can eye floaters be removed with medication?

Although certain herbs, vitamins, home remedies and iodine-containing products have been touted as effective in decreasing eye floaters, none of these have been proven effective in clinical trials. In the unusual cases in which the eye floaters are due to white blood cells in the vitreous from inflammation or infection, appropriate anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics will reduce the number of white blood cells. There are no oral or eyedrop medications of value for the reduction of the common type of eye floaters. Abnormal eye floaters due to bleeding in the vitreous from diabetic retinopathy or a retinal tear will decrease as the blood is absorbed. However, the cause of the bleeding must be addressed to prevent additional bleeding or retinal detachment.

Can eye floaters be removed with surgery?

Breaking up of eye floaters by the use of a YAG laser has been advocated by some ophthalmologists, but there is no evidence that this is both safe and effective. The use of a laser also poses significant risks to the vision in what is otherwise a healthy eye. The vitreous itself can also be surgically removed by a procedure called vitrectomy. This involves multiple incisions into the eye and is used in situations in which there is a large amount of non-clearing blood or inflammatory debris within the eye. Vitrectomy for the treatment of the common type of eye floaters due to vitreous syneresis or posterior vitreous detachment carries with it a significant risk of cataract formation or retinal detachment and a small but significant risk of serious infection or bleeding within the eye. In the past few years, use of smaller caliber instrumentation for vitrectomy and the performance of partial vitrectomy for vitreous floaters has reduced, but not eliminated those risks.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/3/2016

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  • Floaters - Causes

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  • Floaters - What They Look Like

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  • Floaters - Surgery

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