Eye Floaters: A Nuisance or Medical Concern? Pars Plana Vitrectomy Can Help

Eye Floater treatment in Austin

Most people will experience eye floaters at some point in their lives, and these specks, lines or cobwebs can be troubling if they don’t go away on their own. Floaters appear to be at the front of the eye, but they actually float inside the vitreous gel that fills your eyeball. These tiny clumps of cells or gel cast shadows on the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye (retina). When the retina sends light signals to your brain to transform into images, these shadows become visible floaters in your field of vision.

Our eye doctors at Austin Eye utilize advanced techniques and technology to improve your vision, and we offer eye floater treatments, such as the Pars Plana Vitrectomy and laser treatments.

Eye floaters are more noticeable when you look at a blank page or plain wall. Many people experience worsening floaters as they age because the vitreous gel shrinks and thickens, worsening the clumps and strands inside the eye. People who are nearsighted or have had cataract surgery or eye inflammation are more likely to experience floaters. Floaters are typically just a nuisance and may fade or become less visible. However, a sudden increase in floaters that doesn’t go away could be a medical concern and warrants a call to our eye doctors.

Pars Plana Vitrectomy: Most Effective Eye Floater Treatment

Our eye care specialists have found the Pars Plana Vitrectomy (PPV) a more effective treatment for troublesome eye floaters than laser treatments. PPV is a popular technique for vitreoretinal surgery that gives our eye surgeons access to the back of the eye to treat severe eye floaters, retinal detachments and other retinal or vitreous-related concerns. This procedure is a micro-surgical eye surgery performed by our retinal specialists.

PPV accesses the vitreous inside the eye through the back of the eyeball or “Pars Plana.” The Pars Plana is considered a safe area to access the eye because it prevents retinal damage and doesn’t affect the natural eye lens or an intraocular lens implant after cataract surgery. Microscopic tools, lighting devices and lasers are often used for PPV. Local anesthesia is administered so the patient is comfortable but awake during surgery.

Some vitreous gel is removed from the eye through the pars plana, and the space is filled with a gas, air or silicone oil bubble. These substances float to the surface inside the eye and help to hold the retina in place during recovery. Patients can typically return home within a few hours of their PPV procedure. 

Post-op instructions are very specific for PPV because patients often need to place their heads in a particular position for optimal healing. Patients should not fly until cleared by our eye doctors because the low atmospheric pressure in an airplane can affect the bubble and cause a serious increase in intraocular pressure that may damage eye health.

If you struggle with eye floaters, contact Austin Eye to discuss your treatment options. Call our Austin, Texas, office at (512) 250-2612 to schedule an eye exam with one of our ophthalmologists.