Age 45 and older

The age group that is by far the most successfully treated is the older than 45-50 year old patient. This group makes up the bulk of our patient base. They have often experienced a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) described also on our floaters page.

Early stages of posterior vitreous detachment

fig.1 The early stages of a posterior vitreous detachment with thickening and dehydration of the vitreous and pooling of fluid in the center of the globe

The vitreous detachment may occur quite rapidly as there is a posterior movement and shift of this fluid. As this occurs, the vitreous body moves forward separating from the retina. The patient may experience a sudden onset of a large floater, or multiple scattered floaters, or thousands of small round specks scattered all throughout the eye.

completed posterior vitreous detachment

fig.2 As the pooled fluid shift backward, the vitreous body moves forward and away from the retina.

Weiss Ring Floaters
A Weiss ring floater is a particular type of floater that is always associated with a PVD. There is often a particular thickening of the vitreous outer containing sac that surrounds the optic nerve head where it enters the eye. These floaters are classically ring-shaped, but may also collapse into a dense central floater.

Weiss ring floater duet

fig.3 A example of a floater duet: a Weiss ring combined with diffuse cloud floaters

Weiss ring floaters rarely occur in isolation. There is often other floaters that coexist such as strands and dense clouds, but the Weiss ring tends to be the most prominent and bothersome.

Treatability of older patients
The good news is that even though the floaters associated with a PVD are typical larger and more extensive than with the younger age groups, these floaters are more successfully treated.  They are usually clustered away from the critical eye structures (retina and lens), and the density of the Weiss ring-derived floaters absorb the laser energy readily and are definitively vaporized. There is some fragmentation of the floater into microscopic pieces that may benefit from further treatment or they may be so small as to be optically invisible. As with all patients, the other, cloud-like floaters that may also be present can be treated, but tend to have more of a tendency to regress or reform. This effect is described in detail on the Expectations of Laser Treatment page.


152 Responses to Age 45 and older

  1. Jennifer C says:

    I am a 39-yr-old woman with retinitis pigmentosa. I was diagnosed about 5 or 6 years ago, and have already lost the ability to drive at night due to visual impairment. My peripheral is also reducing.
    I have experienced Weiss Rings several times over the two years, most recently this last weekend. I can only identify them as Weiss Rings, as I’m seeing massive “ring” and C-shaped flashing floaters that obscure all remaining vision. It’s like a chain of diamond shapes in the form of a large “C”, and they are flashing with what almost looks like stripes across each “diamond”.

    I haven’t spoken to my optometrist about it as he pretty much blows things off all the time (I really don’t like him, but he’s the only one in town equipped to deal with my eye conditions). And I haven’t been back to my retinal specialist in a long time, as he is 200 miles away (one way) and my husband has to drive me to see him, so scheduling is a major problem. Plus I have decided it is pointless to pay him to tell me the same thing every time I see him. I KNOW I’m going to be blind. I KNOW I have Retinitis Pigmentosa. I KNOW there’s nothing that can be done for it. I’m not paying for that same info over and over…

    What I want to know is:
    Is there any possible connection between my R.P. and the Weiss Rings I keep seeing? If so, does this indicate progression of the disease? And if it is progressing, how far advanced would that indicate it to be?
    I was given an estimate of 46 years old for when I will be completely blind. That’s in 7 years. I have 3 teens and a husband that I need to have prepared for when it happens, so I need to know if it’s gotten worse, and the idiot doctors that are SUPPOSED to be helping don’t.

    • I’m very sorry to hear about your underlying retina problem and the poor prognosis for the future. Regarding the recurrent symptoms that you described, it does not sound like a Weiss ring. A Weiss ring is a static piece of condensed collagen that casts a shadow on to the retina. It should not come and go as you described. In addition, you have described something more dynamic and active or as we call it a “positive phenomenon”. Your symptoms are more suggestive of an ophthalmic migraine. Google that time, or read about it on Wikipedia. The good news is if it is an ophthalmic migraine, it is considered to be a benign phenomenon that comes and goes occasionally. It may be related to vascular spasm and recurs occasionally. I’m not sure any relationship between that and retinitis pigmentosa.

  2. Ben says:

    Hi – I have always had the solid type eye floaters from even my early teen years. I am now 38 – what has began occurring recently is when i move my eyes there seems to be a cloudy film moving across my field of vision in the vitreous. I really only see this film against the backdrop of bright lights or lighted windows. It seems to come and go and is worse when my eyes are tired. Interestingly, it seems to disappear after I run/exercise! Any ideas? I can find nothing online about this and I have been examined by ophthalmologist and he saw nothing.


    • Moving shadows in your vision, whether they be well-defined, or soft and diffuse, are almost always due to condensation of the vitreous fluid. There are many variables that can affect your awareness of them, such as focus of concentration, background objects, ambient light and resultant pupil size, location (or fluctuation) of the densities. Tired eyes? Don’t know exactly what you mean by that, but it may go to alertness and fatigue ad other psychological factors that can influence the awareness of the floaters.

  3. Sofikana says:

    Hello Doctor….
    i am very glad to see ur effort…
    after reading the whole article i came to know that my problem is related to vitreous floaters(P.V.D)… i am seeing floaters from 2nd of july, and’s decreases at a very highest level..only one or two remaining… so now!!!! what should i do????should i go 4 chk up???or being silent until I should wait 4 it’s appearance again???I forgot to tell you that i don’t have any accident,disease or anything else…except mild myopia!!!

    • If you have any new visual symptoms, the usual advice is to get an examination as I can not confidently reassure you that you do not have a more serious problem than just the floaters.

  4. Deepika sisodia says:

    and i also want to know that how long is pvd runs in anyone’s life???plz reply!!!

    • Sorry, I’m not sure if that question does not make sense to me. A PVD is an event. Sometimes it occurs and goes to completion immediately, and sometimes it takes days to weeks to go to completion, and sometimes it remains partially separated forever – the latter is rare. Like most everything medical, there is a wide range of possibilities. I can not tell you what the natural history of your condition will be.

  5. Deepika sisodia says:

    ok..still thanx a lot…
    but will you plz know me that how many times posterior vitreous detachment occurs in ones life????which is one of the cause of vitreous floater!!!!

  6. Deepika sisodia says:

    hello sir,
    i am 23 yr old girl nd suffering from floaters in my both of eyes..
    the laser treatment is done bcoz i have holes in my retina…
    but..i am still very scared about my upcoming lyf….doctor says that i have to come every yr 4 my eyes examining of holes…if holes occur every the the laser will done every that case..i am scared to think about vision loss due to harm effect of laser treatment…
    when it stops??? do i suffer lifetime????
    plz help!!!

    • Your questions regarding your retina and treatment are best directed to your treating physician. I treat eye floaters exclusively, and you’re asking me questions about your retina. I’m sorry but I cannot help you.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Yesterday, a piece of plaster hit me in left eye. It was a tiny piece, about an 1/8 of an inch and I was carrying a long beam so rubbed it out…I think. Then later that evening I started to get peripheral Crescent moon shapped light flashes, many little flashes side by side at the same time in the outer corner of my eye. I also have a floater that was not there before. It happens mostly when i move my eyes suddenly after they have been in one position, but doesnt happen all the time with the same movement. I’m a nurse who was fired and was just cleared of any wrongdoing in a DOH investigation so have no health insurance, or job. Im concerned this may be a small retinal tear. Does a retinal tear ever heal on it’s own or do you have to have a laser scaring procedure? I used sterile saline solution to rinse out the eye and am using a sterile OTC lubricant, which greatly reduces the feeling that something is in the eye still.

    • A retinal tear ‘can’ heal on its own, but since there are no definitive symptoms of a retinal hole, tear, or detachment, there is no way to know for sure if you have an early retinal problem or if it is a benign vitreous detachment.

  8. Leigh says:

    Hi –

    I have been diagnosed with floaters now for several year but since the diagnosis for Fibromyalgia I have found my vision getting worse including the floaters. I also find that a bubble type thinks floats on the edges of my eyes could you maybe let me know what this could be if you can.


    • Any moving shadow in your vision must be caused by some density in the vitreous fluid. They can be dense or light, central or peripheral, defined or vague, dynamic or with minimal movement. Anything.

  9. Albert Eggert says:

    I am 63 and have had good vision my entire life. About a month and a half ago I was walking downtown San Salvador, El Salvador where I have lived now for the past ten years. I noticed like out of the blue a small black inverted C appeared in my right eye. I went to a optometrist and he looked at the eye and said there was no foreign objects in it. The syndrome has not gone away. It floats around my eye from the center of the eye to the right side of the eye only. Is this possibly the Floaters you are explaining? What type of Doctor here could treat this syndrome? Thank you.

    • sudden-onset floaters at your age are usually due to a posterior vitreous detachment. A small, dark object as you describe is ‘probably’ a Weiss-ring type.
      The good news is that this type is usually a treatable type of floaters. The bad news is that I am not aware of anyone in South or Central America treating floaters.

  10. Priscilla Poole says:

    I am a healthy, non-smoking 33 year old woman. Last year I was diagnosed with PVD. I have a big black round blob that pops up in my vision in my left eye. It tends to happen more when I am focusing for any sustained amount of time more so when looking slightly up. I was told there was no treatment, my brain would just get used to it and I would stop noticing it as much. So far this hasn’t happened. I notice it a lot especially when I’m working (I’m a midwife). I find it really distracting. Can anything be done?

    • Based on your age alone, it is statistically less likely that you have had an actual anatomic posterior vitreous detachment. It is not impossible, just unlikely. I’ve seen a number of people who have been diagnosed with a PVD that just had sporadic random bits of degenerative and clumped vitreous. That said, a classic floater type set associated with a PVD would appear as a big black around blog, so you have me a bit confused. So, the question “can anything be done?” Maybe. Possibly. I’m not quite sure. It really does depend on where your floaters located within the globe. A small roundish blob could also be a small floaters located near the retina. It would be irresponsible of me to be overly enthusiastic and encourage you to take a long flight to the US, but unfortunately that sometimes what has to be done. There are a few doctors in Europe treating floaters. There are a couple in the UK, I can not vouch for their skill set or technique. We all do things little differently and even with the same brand of laser our approach may be wildly different. The presence of the PVD could be confirmed by ultrasound which may even show the large floater in a good position. That may help you do your due diligence in trying to sort out whether or not you’re a candidate for treatment.

  11. robert briffa says:


    I am 41 years old, and always had a sniper sight!..Never required glasses, and my job is micro electronics, to which, I do not even, and never used a magnifying zoom lens.
    For these last 2 months, I had a problem with my right eye, mainly when watching TV or using P.C. I used to have a blurring effect, but than I just close it, or move my finger around it, and it will be o.k.. A month ago, I had a terrible flu, and since than, the same eye, remained blurred, Or better say, I see like a cloud, to the point that if I cover my left eye, and there is a car infront of me, I see it like the car is in a cloud. Totally unrecognisable.
    Today I have been to the opthalmist, and after an exam, he said that it seems to be Vitreous Floater, and also told me that is not common at my age, and will get better when I get older!!!
    I really cannot work in this state.. It makes me loose concentration constantly.. Using the P.C is also a nightmare..
    He suggested Vitrectomy, but also said, that the risk is high, cause of my age.
    What is your opinion?

    • It is difficult to say whether or not the flu or other systemic illness would cause or aggravate vitreous eye floaters, but it does sound suspicious when they are so temporally associated with each other. But, the mantra and science is that correlation does not equal causation. I treat all kinds of floaters: some relatively simple, some diffuse and very complex. They certainly have my preference, but I don’t get to choose what walks in the door I just need to know what I can safely and reasonably efficiently treat, versus those that are not good candidates for treatment for various reasons. cloud-like floaters can be treated, but if it is the kind I’m thinking of, they do have a tendency to reform or re–aggregate. I do not see this as a complication, but just the nature of the beast, so to speak. regarding vitrectomy, I believe it is the gold-standard procedure for floaters. It has the highest expectation for removing all or nearly all of the vitreous fluid and associated eye floaters. It is invasive and does have more risks than is associated with the treatment with a laser, and some of these risks are vision threatening. I look at the laser treatment as an intermediate choice which has less risk and may very well get the patient to a level of satisfaction and improved quality of vision and quality of life without having to go to the more invasive and riskier surgical vitrectomy. In addition, it is not a decision to do either the laser or vitrectomy. You can look at the decision as a progression of invasiveness and risk. One can try the laser procedure, and if that is not satisfactory, you can always go on to have the vitrectomy later.

  12. Hermoine says:

    Hi there, so I’m wondering if this phenomenon of seeing a small floater( I was shopping at costco and told my husband that a fly was following me…then within hours a large floater appeared on same left eye that’s completely disturbed my field of vision) is it a hereditary health trait? In our DNA SNP MTHFR ..?!
    I’m a vivacious non smoker 63 young woman who is pretty much healthy , I’m only on cytomel for my hypothyroidism, a vegetarian , sugar free, most of the time GMO free, very active with road cycling (12.5 mph avg) , Zumba freak, some golf, roller blading , & paddle boarding……basically wtf! I can’t understand this! Should I stop being active? Is all that percipitating the floaters and possible retina tears? Btw, I had this happen to me 3 years ago only right eye. I was diagnosed with 3 tears. After about month or two I went for another follow up and the tears healed. Thank goodness! I literally stayed in bed most of the time (for fear of losing my sight) and I wore a patch over the eye. I was advised by my Dr. Not to do strenuous activity, even walking the big dog we have. As well she told me not to dance. I even stopped driving… passion. What is going on here? Neither of my grandparents had this, nor my parents. Is it only occurring to the baby boomers and younger generations? Oh yea, did I mention that this floater turned squiggly in the dark room with a vertical flash? Rambling, but very concerned and not a happy camper. I guess I’ll be skipping my Zumba classes for a month, my 36 mile weekend cycling trips etccccc.
    Thank you.

    • if you are in the midst of a posterior pictures detachment, I can understand the recommendation of limiting your physical activities. It is the process of a pictures detachment as it separates from the retina with the internal traction and pulling and tugging on the retina that is responsible for most of the peripheral retinal holes and tears. want to pictures detachment has completed, though, I may very well disagree with that advice of limiting your physical activity. I don’t think it is based on any science and may just be a professional wives tale. When I am treating at the laser, and I simply ask the patient look with her eyes only left and right, I see the pitcher is vigorously swirling about inside the eye. Simply looking the left and right, I believe, causes more disturbance and movement of the pitcher’s van cycling or even bouncing around. I might actually recommend not doing Zumba, not for any medical reason other than it’s just a silly looking activity. Floaters are not a new phenomenon, they been around forever but they are an aging phenomenon of the vitreous fluid.

  13. robert ingram says:

    I have a yellow shadow that covers my right eye and everywhere i look has a yellow shadow. If i cover my left eye and look at a book , i see nothing.

    • If the shadow moves, it is likely to be some form of vitreous degenerative condition like eye floaters. If it is a blurred, diminished area vision that is static and stable and always stays the same place, it is not a floater and is more likely to be something having to do with the retina or pathways to the brain. I can only speak in generalizations, I have not seen your eye or testing or visual fields, this is something that you need to discuss with your local and well-qualified eyecare provider.

  14. John Eagan says:

    I’m a 47 yo male with a recent diagnosis of retinoschisis. Approximately a year ago, I noticed some strange distortions in the periphery of my visual field. Distortions resembling ripples on water contained within a bright ring. After examination, the ophthalmologist suggested I’ve had this condition for years, possible decades, and that it appears stable. He explained the mechanics of the distortions, however, I’m at a loss to understand why I would only recently notice them. As time as passed, the distortions seem to become more noticeable and intense. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  15. Karen Williams says:

    Hi and thanks.
    Recently, two large black floaters appeared in my lefet eye, followed by a, bright, white, vertical line occasionally flashing in the upper left area of this eye. The bright flash is more noticeable in the evenings, and, during the day a shadow like feeling is present and appears to affect my eyesight. After several days of this, I now, also, have irritation/pain in the same area that feels as though my eye is scratched. I’m a 64 year old, non=smoker female with controlled hypertension.
    Any suggestions would be welcome please. Many thanks for this interesting and informative site.

    • For someone in their 60s, a seven-onset of floaters associated with peripheral flashes of light is almost always due to a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). I generally recommend waiting at least a month after the onset of floaters and longer if there are still peripheral flashes of light. It is possible that small floaters initially closer to the retina may move forward or interior as the vitreous continues to separate from the retina. Small floaters may become less bothersome as they moved interior. This should all occur within the first few weeks after the sudden-onset of symptoms. The same floaters in the same age group are my most typical treatable patient. So if the symptoms persist you may consider a consultation/evaluation to determine if you’re a candidate for treatment.

  16. Nico says:

    I am a healthy 40 year old and have just recently started to see floaters after a virus and head pressure. They have been there for 2 months now and don’t seem to change. 3 opticians have looked at my eyes and say they are healthy and can’t see floaters. One said they could be tiny and really close to the retina. My question is, will they move away from the retina in time or will they just stay there?

    • There is the possibility they may move away from the retina, but there is no way to predict, or give you some set of statistics to set expectations for you. These small protein filaments are VERY difficult to find on exam, unfortunately, and so the floaters are something that you see, but the doctors either don’t see, or don’t fully appreciate.

  17. Amy says:

    I am an 18 year old female and I have recently been having visual problems. I am slightly long-sighted, +0.75 in each eye, but this does not affect me.
    Last year, there were two occasions, months apart, where I had vision loss in my right eye. It’s like huge black blob blocking my vision which doesn’t move, although if I move my eye far enough I have a tiny bit of my peripheral vision. About a month ago, this happened again, and has happened about 10 times in the space of two months, which is unheard of. I do not get headaches with this, but it is a weird sensation when it happens and it feels hard to focus with only one eye. These episodes last from 10 seconds to about 5 minutes. Is this classic of floaters or monocular migraines? Is there anything you could suggest?
    Many thanks

    • Hannah, If a floater were large enough to block your vision, it would not just disappear most of the time. What you are describing is not typical of eye floaters. It is more suggestive of a vascular or neurological phenomenon such as ophthalmic/ocular migraines. If they are ocular migraines, that is good news as they are self-limited, occasional, and usually resolve fully. My guess is that if/when you get this checked out, your eyes will appear totally healthy to the examining doctor and no definitive diagnosis will be made. Any new or unusual visual phenomenon should still be checked out by a qualified eye doctor, of course.

  18. John Murphy says:

    I’m 61 years old man. I have had floaters for many years and they have gotten worse with age. My most frustrating problem are “floaters” that don’t really float. They are circular and block parts of my vision in bright light. For example, if I am driving and there is a speed limit sign ahead, letters or numbers in the sign will be blocked out until I get closer. The brighter the day the worse the effect. Also when I look out a window in day light I see a round transparent circle. I’ve been to several specialist and can’t get an answer to what my problem is. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • The hallmark characteristic of ‘floaters’ is that they must move around at least somewhat. If the blurry, obstructed area that you describe is fixed in position even as you move your eyes and head around, then it may be something else like a retina problem. If it does move and you get brief ‘glimpses’ of clarity, then we are more likely talking about a vitreous floater. For something that obstructive, I’d think that your local doctors would be able to see the offending material on exam.

    • Diane says:

      OMG I am experiencing the exact same think. Been to 4 drs and they all tell me they can’t do anything. I have posterior polar cataracts and a floater that very seldom moves (pvd) I feel like I’m going crazy because nobody seems to understand what I’m describing. My cataracts have been there since I was young and I dont think they are the culprit because they haven’t changed size. I am 51

  19. David says:

    i am 59 and a week ago i stood up and saw spots in my right eye..the spots turned into a curtain in front of my eye that floats around obstructing my vision..i went to my eye specialist that day.. they did test and said it would need to heal.they called today to set up a time to get me in to do laser surgery…hopefully it gets fixed cause i can’t live like this..i’d rather be blind in that is giving me headaches..

    • Makes sure you understand what they are doing and trying to fix. If they are using the laser, they are probably using an argon laser to do a retinopexy…like spot welding the retina around a small hole or tear tin order to prevent a retinal detachment. If they do successfully, you may still have the shadows and cobwebs to contend with. The most important thing is to get the retina prophylactically repaired first, then wait and see.

  20. Eric Watkins says:

    I had cateract surgery in my right eye some twenty years ago, I had just turned forty, it was the result of an accidental trauma in a sporting accident when I was in my early twenties. I’ve just turned 68 and I now have what I thought at first to be an enormous eye floater but now I think it’s more than that. The best way to describe it would be to say it’s like my eye has a windscreen wiper blade. It is pivoted at the top center of the eye and it swings across my field of Vision exactly like a wiper blade. It is thinner at the top, where it is pivoted and more bulbous at the bottom of the arc. If I look to the left, it swings to the right and vice versa and I can never actually focus on it ( like a floater).
    In total it is quite wide and causes great concern because at certain times my sight from that eye is totally blurred and added to the fact I also now have a cateract in my left eye there are times I’m almost blind, particularly in brightly lite places, driving at night, or in bright sunshine and even this computer screen is causing me problems. What do you think it is and can anything be done about it. Thank you.

    • Any movement of shadows in our vision are due to denser-than-water entities in the vitreous. They can be pretty much any shape and behaviour. Froml what you have described, I can not absolutely reassure you that your floaters are in a position amenable to treatment, but based on your age alone, I’d say “probably”.

  21. Patrick Duffy says:

    I am a 50 year old male with a recent PVD in the left eye. I had a retina tear that was treated with a laser, and now there are thousands of very tiny specs, and one very big floater bouncing around in the center of my vision. Will the specs go away since they are very small? I am thinking they will be absorbed, but the big floater seems to be the ring type described on your website. How long should I wait until seeking treatment?

    • The small specks may be red blood cells or sub-retinal pigments cells. These DO have the capacity to be filtered out of the eye and the RBC’s will naturally lose their haemoglobin pigment over the course of 3-4 months. The larger (possible Weiss ring) will not. Give it a few months, follow up with the retina peoples as instructed, and if still bothering you, let’s talk.

  22. Mary J. says:

    Hello Doctor,
    I am a 55 year old woman with floaters in both eyes. Severely myopic (-10.0) and confirmed PVD’s in both eyes. I have had several laser treatments from another doctor with ok success. I have been left with several longer strands(translucent) in my periphery which move across my central vision with eye movement and lots of smaller clumps/pieces in both eyes. The current doctor can’t seem to locate these strands and some of the clumps and try and remove. With your techniques are you able to locate and treat these types of floaters–longer strands(translucent) and maybe clean up some of the smaller ones?

    • I am diligent. I am compulsive. I am pretty doggedly determined to get even the fine/microscopic floaters. I don’t give up easily and like to build my reputation on safely and successfully treating the floaters that the other doctors will not or have met with only partial success. But…I can’t promise anything other than by best effort and skills.

  23. Michelle Smith says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,
    I am a 58 yr old female, and 2 days ago suddenly experienced 2 very large floaters in my right eye. (Over the past few years, I’ve experienced occasional small floaters — “dots” — but they have not been at all troublesome. These, however, are very troublesome.) I saw an ophthalmologist yesterday who confirmed that they are floaters and determined that there are no issues with the retina. He mentioned that I should definitely expect more of the same in my left eye. He also observed small cataracts in each eye. I’m very nearsighted (OD -5.75, OS -5.75, +2.50) and wear soft contact “monovision” lenses (OD -5.00, OS -2.75) but otherwise have enjoyed good eye health. I’m an active amateur athlete and work out 6 days/week. I work full-time at a job that puts me in front of a computer screen for 8+ hours a day. Questions for you: 1. From what I’ve read at your website, I sound like a good candidate for your treatment; how long would you suggest I wait?; 2. Do any of my lifestyle choices above contribute to this condition?; 3. I live in CT and would travel to see you, but are you aware of anyone on the East Coast performing this treatment?; 4. How many patients in my “demographic” have you treated, and how many successfully? Do these patients require frequent follow-ups?; 5. For your out-of-town patients, will you review records of previous eye exams in order to determine likelihood of the success of your treatment before they travel to see you? Thank you — I already have peace of mind, just having read the info on your website! Michelle Smith

    • 1. From what I’ve read at your website, I sound like a good candidate for your treatment; how long would you suggest I wait?

      I generally recommend waiting a month after the sudden onset of floaters, longer if flashes of light exist/persist.

      2. Do any of my lifestyle choices above contribute to this condition?

      Not that I am aware of.

      3. I live in CT and would travel to see you, but are you aware of anyone on the East Coast performing this treatment?;

      Yes, but I think our practices, techniques, laser, and style of practices are different enough I would not consider the patient experience to be equivalent.

      4. How many patients in my “demographic” have you treated, and how many successfully? Do these patients require frequent follow-ups?

      Most of the patients I treat are over the age of 45-50.

      5. For your out-of-town patients, will you review records of previous eye exams in order to determine likelihood of the success of your treatment before they travel to see you?

      Be glad to, although most doctors just write the word “floaters” in the charts and that is not very helpful.

  24. John says:

    Dear Sir. I recently visited an optician because I had blurred vision in one eye. It almost feels like a film is over my eye and that somehow the eye isn’t opening properly, like if I rub it, it will go away. She said she could see a lot of floaters in that eye but nothing else. Would this explain the awful blurred vision I have in that eye. Thank you.

    • Moment-to-moment fluctuation of the vision is most likely caused by some optical media anomaly = ‘floaters’. If your blurriness is static and not shifting around it is more likely something else.

  25. Tom says:

    I am a 59 and overnight started seeing floaters in my left eye. I had radial keratotomy on both eyes in my early 20’s. Does the RK scaring effect your ability to treat the floaters?

    • RK scars can decrease the amount and coherence of the laser energy entering the eye. It would generally not increase any of the risks, but may decrease the available energy going into the eye. Usually this can be compensated for by technique, energy settings and experience of the laser surgeon.

  26. Alisha says:

    Hi I’m 57 years old. I have 20/20 vision for distance and just need reading glasses. My Optometrist saw a floater in my left eye “like tissue paper” but doesn’t seem to affect my vision overall. However, I am seeing dark shadowy, irregular, clusters of spots (one larger, and others small and scattered) only when I lift weights, bear down or otherwise strain. The spots throb with my heartbeat, but only last a few seconds and quickly dissipate. I do not feel pain or faint, just see the spots. The Optometrist could not identify what this would be caused by. Outside of very early cataract clouding in one eye and the floater, I have tested negative for glaucoma and my retina, vessels of the eye look good. I do have high cholesterol, but my Optometrist said she saw no evidence of any problems associated with the eye due to that.

    • Alisha, am not quite sure how to explain the throbbing fluctuation of your awareness of the small spots and floaters. It may not be your actual heart beat, but may be a natural fluctuation in the size of the pupil called ‘hippus’ which may cause some fluctuation of the focus of the shadow cast from the floaters onto your retina. Hippus can fluctuate at about the rate of the heartbeat as well. It is a bit of a stretch to explain it, and the Alternative is that it is something truly Vascular and neurological. I am in no position here to diagnose your particular subjective visual phenomenon, but all I can say is that it would not be a common reason a rare description of the fluctuation of the awareness of eye floaters.

  27. Hanna says:

    Hello, Im only 21 and i already had a few floaters when i was 7 years old, but lately they got much worse. First, i develloped a Weisring about three years ago, but it doesnt stop there, to the Weisring there is a really big string, snake like thing attached to now which keeps getting worse each day. If i squeeze my eyes a little together i can see even more floaters, and a lot of really small circle shaped ones, are those even floaters? Is it possible I had a PVD when i was 18?? and i heard once the pvd is completed the floaters will vanish, is that true?

    • I doubt very much that you have experienced a true PVD. I have never seen one in a 21 year old patient. In the older patients, I am often treating people who have “completed” PVD’s, so they do not disappear when a PVD is complete.

    • 21yroldfloaters says:

      Hanna, I’m 21 years old too. I had a recent head trauma and woke up with lots of floaters in both eyes! Black dots, squiggly transparent lines, tiny transparent dots, the whole thing! I’ve been diagnosed with PVD in both eyes by a retina specialist. My PVD isn’t complete either, and I was hoping like you that in time this would all disappear but it won’t. I don’t just have one or two that float across my vision, I have lots and lots and feel like they swing with my eyes but when I try focus on one specifically they’ll move. I can’t look anywhere without seeing at least 10-20 floaters. It’s hard being so young and having to deal with this. I’m considering a FOV if things don’t change within the next 6 months. I can’t go back to uni, as white walls are just UNBEARABLE!

      Also, it’s a shame that a young person says they have a PVD and are often doubted on here. I’ve been to 4 optometrists 2 opthalmologists and a retina speacialist.

    • ahmad says:

      Its all about life….i have seen floater and flashers sine last 9 months
      i am the student of engineering and i want to do many thing in my life, but just before few weeks degree awarding eyes seen what i dnt want to see.with a blessing of god my all eye test and brain ct scan are absolute fine.i knw no one understand your situation even close ones…only solution is to fight n fight…..plz never give up until u see little bits…now ones lives in this earth forever..but your fighting and struggle always remains.ahmad

  28. Dave Cooper says:

    I am a male age 49 and have recently developed quite a few strand like floaters in my right eye. After visiting the optician he has referred me to an eye specialist as although my eyes are healthy according to his test and photographs, he stated that there is some scarring at the back of both my eyes which needs investigating.

    My main concern however is that I have also developed a kind of blind spot in the bottom of my right eye, which occurs when I look to the right. When in the light, in the bottom of my right eye a quadrant of darkness appears or like I am looking at dark dense water. When in the dark, this quadrant appears lighter than my surroundings and if I move my eyes quickly it is outlined with an orange flash. When looking forward the quadrant effectively obscures the peripheral vision of my nose. I am assuming that this is all to do with PVD and that as this shape moves with my eyes it is some sort of large floater and so is not too serious, but am aware that retinal detachment is also a possibility and was wondering whether these were classic symptoms of a detachment. Any comments would help.
    Many thanks.

  29. Vivianne Escolar says:

    I am 58 years old. I ‘ve had cataract surgery on both eyes. First the right eye, then the left. After developing opacity in my right eye, I had a capsulotomy and my vision is perfect. However since surgery I have a perfect black ring with a clear centre appear when I incline my head forward. Then I had the big ring with 2 little ones exactly the same appear. Now I can perceive the big ring in the periphery of my vision. And one little one moving about. Everything disappears when I am still or looking up.What is that? I walk/run every second day, and practice yoga every day, though I have not done any headstands or known inverted poses since surgery. I can’t decide whether to go to the eye clinic or wait and see if it all disappears. Is this an after effect of surgery. I did mention it to my doctor when I went for after surgery follow up, but he did not seem concerned. I am worried though. Can you advise me? Thank you

    • Sudden onset moving shadows in your vision are very likely to be vitreous floaters. These are common without cataract surgery as well as after surgery. Exercise, including inversions in yoga do not have anything to do with it. Your doctor’s perceived lack of interest is common. Most are not. Otherwise, I can not make a definitive diagnoses regarding your condition or the prognosis for treatment.

  30. erica says:

    I had my eyes checked 5 days ago where he looked at the retina to see if I had a detachment. I was getting some jelly floaters coming off the eye. Since my appoinment, I wouldn’t say the floaters look worse but I feel like I still have jelly in my eye from the exam. I don’t know if this is my imagination or not because I am worried. I am scheduled to go back to the dr. in 3 weeks. I’m just wondering does the jelly move around and maybe cause you to feel like you have fluid in your eye?

    • The vitreous is 99.9% water. It IS a fluid (more technically, a “visco-elastic” fluid). Is has the behaviour more like uncooked eggwhites than a gelatin or jelly. So, “yes”, they do move around by their very nature.

  31. Peter says:

    I haven’t seen these for years now. Is that any cause for concern?

    • I cannot make a diagnosis in this format. Most floaters are considered benign, but there are some rare exceptions. It would be irresponsible to just reassure you without the opportunity to examine your eye.

  32. Marcela Puertolas says:

    Dr Johnson.
    Dear Sir: I hope your answer would bring me some peace. I´m waiting for the appointment with the ofthalmologist , and it will be only in two weeks ( BTW, I´m a Dr !!!) that´s why, probably I´m so anxious about the delay, ya know: more you know, more you fear.
    Well, I had had minimal fibrillar floters since I was very young, Used to need glasses during my scholar years but then with age, my vission improved to the point I didn´t need them anymore, just recently (I´m 53) I need glasses when I spend many many hours in front of the screen or reading… and the floaters were mostly invissible. Fifteen days ago, flying from LA to Houston, the plane performed a really FAST landing and moved a lot during acouple of minutes. At the time I inclined myself forward to arrange my bag or something, we took land and suddenly I perceived a ring ( surprisingly blue with a yellow center, thats the color I saw it in the darkness of the cabin) that ring clouded the vision of my rigth eye. When I went trough the conection area in the airport the ring was no more blue but a cloud that difficulted my vission to the point it was very hard to find my connection fligth on screen.
    At this moment I got really scared and thougth I had had a RD. Next day, already in my country ( I live in Buenos Aires), the cloud had dissapeared and just a webcob remained , this webcob had a ring (very mobile) in the center. Never had flashes of ligth.Then, I got a bit of peace and think that I had a PVD instead a RD.
    Now, along fifteen days I have been living with this annoying f…..!!! I do scientific research for a living and I need to spend hours at the computer, microscope, etc. So, my normal life have been disrupted. I´m waiting for my appointment and meanwhile the ring has claired itself and is not as much dark as it used to be, the vission INSIDE the ring is really good. I have some tiny tiny floaters around and inside the ring but those don´t bother me.
    I think the visit to the oftalmologist is neccesary to discard the possibility of a retinal tear, but I´m wondering if the ring is going to dissapear itself or not. Most of the medical literature I consulted said NO:
    If not…How much time should I wait to consider a laser treatment???.
    Thanks for your answer.

    • Marcela, I generally recommend waiting at least a month after the acute onset of floaters as you described. It allows the vitreous and floaters to separate fully and move more anteriorly where it is more efficient and safer to treat. If you are experiencing flashes of light, wait until those have subsided as well.

  33. Rick Thompson says:

    I had cataract surgery on my right eye in April 2014. Immediately after the surgery I had a large floater, attached at one end, that creates a windshield wiper effect each time I look left or right. It has not improved and I swear I can feel it moving inside my eye. It feels like a feather brushing against the front of my eye. I’m 62 years old. Am I a candidate for your procedure? Thanks!

    • Large, sudden-onset floaters, in your age-group, after cataract surgery are usually associated with a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). These are common in my practice and likely to be treatable with good safety and success. I can’t guarantee it, but if I were a betting man, I would think it very likely to be treatable.

  34. Claudio Moreno says:

    Hello Dr. I am 45 years old and floaters present, I live in Venezuela and I want to travel to this technique, how much this treatment? I am very interested. thank you very much

  35. Laurie says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson,

    I am 53 years-old. Almost three weeks ago, I noticed something off in the peripheral vision of my left eye. It looked like a c-shaped flash of light. It was worse when I moved my eye left to right. I then noticed some floaters off to the left which were never there before. I went to eye doctor and they took photos of my eyeballs and then dilated the left one. He said there was no evidence of PVD…but to come back in a week. I had PRK on my eyes from his associate almost 8 years ago…so when I went back I saw him. He dilated me and also took pics again of my eyeballs. This time he said there was in fact PVD….and he could actually see a floater before he even dilated me. He didn’t seem too concerned and told me not to worry. He told me if the floaters increase to get back in. I am very upset. This is really bothering me and affecting the quality of my life. I have a bunch of them to the left and a few big ones in the middle. He didn’t even schedule a follow up in 4 to 6 weeks. I do know he does laser for these because it’s on his website. Should I call to see him in a month? I also still have the flashes of light at night in my peripheral vision. Will these floaters go away? I honestly cannot see myself living with them. Thank you so much.

    • Your symptoms sound absolutely classic for a posterior vitreous detachment. They will not likely go away on their own, but you are welcome to wait as long as you want/can to be convinced of that. The floater treatment community of doctors is really small. I have heard of others trying it or “dabbling” with it. There is nothing to stop anyone else from treating floaters, but it is a very difficult procedure to do well. If someone has added a couple paragraphs to their web site, I’d be cautious. I think you need to fire the laser a few hundred thousand shots to get competent. Just competent. Most doctors with busy general practices are not likely committed to treating enough patients to get those kinds of numbers on their laser. I suggest waiting at least a month or longer if there are still many flashes of light or other instabilities, before considering treatment.

      • Laurie says:

        Thank you Dr. Johnson. I am very upset if I have to live with these symptoms. They are HORRIBLE. I will keep you posted. Thanks again!

  36. gary says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson;

    After reading pretty much everything in you site, I think I’m a pretty good candidate for your surgery. What I must have missed is whether untreated cataracts decrease the potential for success. I have been so diagnosed, but the cataracts are not severe so surgery for them is not recommended yet. I am 66.

    • It depends on how bad the cataracts are, which may be roughly estimated by your best-corrected visual acuity. If you can still read 20/30 or better on the chart with your correction, then the cataract are not too bad, and may be better described as age-related lens changes. When they start talking about surgery, then my view, and the coherence of the laser energy will be compromised.

  37. H. Melto says:

    I’m devastated. I had cataract surgery 4 days ago in my left eye and I saw floaters immediately.
    Five of them. Big ones! I never had floaters before. I am a 69 yr. old female who opted for this at the suggestion of my optometrist as opposed to upping my eye glass prescription. I feel like I am going crazy seeing big black spots before my eye!!
    I’m afraid of having my right eye done now. After reading all these real life stories I do not want to go blind. I need to call my surgeon tomorrow & tell him about this, but from what everyone else says, there is no cure for this? I’ve already lost my zest for life due to this :(
    God have mercy~

  38. Greg Taylor says:

    Again, thanks for the reply. Be it running or lifting, everything is harder at 60 than it used to be. I do as much cardio as I do lifting, and I think it all moves me in the right direction. Now if only my golf game would come around….

  39. Greg Taylor says:

    Age 60. I had cataract surgery on the right eye about 8 months ago followed shortly thereafter by a capsulotomy. I have vision only in that eye and, happily, all went fine. The other day, I suddenly developed a new, large, and dark squiggly floater. As I “watched” it, I saw it begin to dissolve and in just a few minutes, it was gone. However, immediately, my eyesight filled with thousands of small undulating spots — like pepper flakes in a snow globe! Not good. I was able to see my specialist the next day and, though he saw evidence of blood, he could find no tears. A second exam by a retinal specialist in the same building confirmed the same result. I was advised that they are likely PVD-related blood cells (red?) and will tend to settle to the bottom over time and hopefully, “go away”. However, I am still sitting here three days later with thousands of small dots filling my vision field as they continually swirl in the fluid of my eye. My question is (and I can find little anywhere that addresses it): will they actually go away? It’s not possible to ignore them. And how long might that take? Or is it more likely that “what you see is what you get”?

    • Red blood Cells in the vitreous may go away or mostly go away. They will lose their hemoglobin pigment over the next 3-4 months and so the residuals may fade as well. I wouldn’t make any judgement until 3-4 months have passed, then reassess the situation.

      • Greg Taylor says:

        Thank you for your comments. Separately, I have been a weight lifter for years and, though no Olympian by any means (especially at my age), I do work hard and frequently strain to the max. I’ve seen conflicting research as to whether or not this can lead to eye problems. My doctor said that the “old way” of thinking warned of possible risks, but that current research does not support that finding and I should continue as I am. What are your thoughts?

        • My thoughts are that lifting a weight and then setting it down doesn’t get you anywhere. My preference is for the endurance sports: running and triathlons. But that wasn’t your question. I don’t think lifting causes eye problems. Possible an occasional ruptures vessel on the surface of the eye, but that is merely a cosmetic concern and resolves without treatment.

          • Richard J. Pitts, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist says:

            Dr. Johnson,

            You are an accomplished and innovative – board certified ophthalmologist. But, stick with what you know. lol

            After a near fatal car crash 18 years ago, I sustained a severe coma and had an 80% chance of dying over regaining consciousness. After 7 weeks, I regained consciousness anyway, but suffered from severe left-sided hemiparesis (near paralysis of the left side of my body). I was told there was a 50-50 chance I would never walk again. However, I was able to walk after over a year of extensive rehab – which included a regimen of lifting weights. Lifting weights has allowed me to increase my strength such that now I only walk with only a slight limp. My posture is also much improved. Aerobic exercise has been critical, as well. In fact, 7-8 years after my accident, I was able to see my own patients again, at least part-time.

            Dr. Richard Pitts
            Licensed Psychologist

          • Richard, regarding exercise and floaters/PVDs: It is very likely that your peripheral retinal hole/tear was caused by a posterior vitreous detachment. The internal traction of specific small areas of the retina by the incompletely separating vitreous causes this rent in the vitreous. They are likely applying a double ring of argon laser spots surrounding the hole to effectively “Spot weld” and tack down the immediately surrounding retina to prevent any further problems. These are usually so far out in the periphery that you will not notice any vision changes.
            Once the vitreous has fully separated, there is no more traction and likely your remaining lifetime risk of any further retina problems like this is nearly zero. The greatest risk was while the vitreous was separating.
            Weight lifting can increase intrathoracic pressure and conceivable some increased venous back pressure up into the retinal veins, but that can not affect the vitreous, or the volume of the eye. More active movement sports like running, tennis, squash, cycling, etc, would not likely cause much disturbance of the vitreous. What does cause the vitreous to swirl all over the place is simply looking left-then-right and vice versa.The one activity I would suggest avoiding at all costs is Zumba dancing class. Not because it has anything to do with the vitreous, but because no man should ever be doing Zumba in my humble opinion.

      • Stan Jez says:

        In a previous post I reported my experience with a sudden onset of a floater in my left eye after sneezing. I had a bleed into my eye.
        I’m pleased to report, and I hope this gives some comfort to people with a similar experience, that the large black floater has slowly spread into thin strands and has lightened considerably. I can see the remnant of the original floater mass but it is 80% less noticeable. At this rate I’m hopeful that after a couple of months it will be even less obvious.
        I’m sure that I will see the floaters but in a tolerable way.
        My flashes of white light like a C on my peripheral vision has settled down to three or four during the evening.

        • Mike says:

          I just want to say thanks for the post. I had a vitreous hemorrhage and retina tear lasered two days ago and now I have a huge black strandy-like floater in the middle of my eye that is either a Weiss floater (I hope not) or a blood floater. The idea that this thing will not go away is really bugging me. Makes me feel old, actually. So your post gives me some hope. Best regards, Mike.

          • Stan Jez says:

            Mike, let me know how you go. Hopefully, that floater will lighten and dissipate. I have a slight cobweb at the original site that I hardly notice in my daily activity and the other floaters don’t give me any discomfort. I consider myself very fortunate and am grateful that what was a depressing condition is much better. I am more aware of how wonderful the gift of sight is.
            I’m going back for another eye examination next week to see if there are any changes to my retina. I still see the occasional white C flash.
            Best wishes, Stan.

          • Bob Wilson says:

            These comments are very interesting. I had a hemorrhage two years ago that filled my left eye with blood…it resolved itself over a period of three or four months completely. On April 21, 2014, I had it happen again, this time it was much worse, it blinded me in the left eye (all in all, I was blinded in my left eye for five months). After a couple months it was not better at all, maybe even worse. In June, the doctor said the hemorrhage had caused the slight cataract to deteriorate substantially, and scheduled me for surgery to remove it. She said she couldn’t see anything in the eye because of the debris in there. I had the cataract surgery the end of July 2014. All went well with it, but of course I still couldn’t see anything with it, much like a dense fog had settled over the entire eye. Three weeks ago I had a Vitrectomy to remove all the vitreous humor fluid along with the blood residue, old floaters etc. Along with this, the doctor did a scatter laser treatment and did a shot of something that is supposed to deter further development of sickly vessels in the eye. BTW, I have been diabetic for over 45 years, but the doctor is still not completely sure all this is because of that since a lot of people who are not diabetic can have this problem. Since the last surgery, on the third day after, I developed a squiggly floater with a long tail that moves all over the eye, never staying in one place along with a couple scattered black dots. Doctor said it was most likely some of the blood left in my eye since he could not get “every last” bit of blood out because it was too close to the retina or the front of the eye and I also have some curious circular rotating thingy’s on the outer edge of the affected eye, but the doctor said these are normal and will resolve in time. He said it should resolve itself over a few weeks. The only additional other thing is…when I had the first hemorrhage a couple years ago, I remembered about two or three months before being “elbowed” with a bonny elbow directly in that eye. This could have started the whole thing also. And…I had been having flashes and floaters in that eye for quite a long time before also. I hope all you guys have positive outcomes from your treatments…I find it totally amazing that there is the technology available to “fix” this stuff. I’m quite sure in the past I would have just stayed blind in that eye. By the way, I am now 71 y.o., in fairly good health and very happy to be able to see in both eyes again.

  40. Stan Jez says:

    I’m a 65 year old male and have experienced floaters probably for the last 30 years or so, but they were only really visible when I looked at the sky. Some would come and go and they didn’t bother me unduly.
    Last week, I got a cold and was experiencing some sneezing.
    After a suppressed sneeze in a restaurant I thought I had a dark smudge on my glasses. Obviously it wasn’t a smudge but I got a large black floater just to the left of my line of sight in my left eye.
    Over the next day the black floater developed a tail, similar to a goldfish and when I looked to the left the tail would swing to the left and when I looked to the right the tail of the floater would sway to the right of the main mass.
    I visited my ophthalmologist for a test and was only able to determine a possible large floater from a shadow on the retina (Photos taken of both eyes). He compared the retina photos with those taken 2 years earlier and found that there was no substantial change. Health Retina, good blood supply etc.
    Of course, trying to see a floater using the bright lights doesn’t seem to make the floaters obvious. (a student in the clinic also examined my eye but was unable to recognise a the large floater. (You should see it from my side I quipped).

    What seems to have happened was that the sneeze burst a blood vessel near the optic nerve bundle and the sudden onset of the floater was a “spray” of blood in the vitreous.

    I was asked if I had any flashes of light and I said no. However the next evening whilst walking into a dark room I noticed a circular flash of white light on the periphery of my vision. These flashes only occurred when I moved my eye suddenly or moved my head. I would only get 3 or 4 flashes a day, but I had a further examination of my eyes whilst they were fully dilated. Nothing obvious was found, but I’ve been asked to return after a month for reassessment.
    Ok, so I’m pleased that there isn’t any major, damage to my sight, but I must say that this floater is driving me nuts!

    Over the last few days the floater has lightened up a little and is leaving a circular trail which has almost joined up with the original floater. Plus I see a much finer cobweb structure of floaters. Sort of reminds me a little of making a cake batter in a mixer, dropping in some chocolate and seeing the chocolate mix and leave a trail.

    Well, at my age now, whenever I see the doctor I get that comment that sadly needs a smile. “DOB” Date of Birth. Expect more as you get older.

    To all of the Floater victims out there… I know how you feel. I just wish this new found “friend” could be just asked to leave.

    However, the following

    • I can understand what you are talking about. I previously had small floaters then they were long. Last week after takeing several pictures a went into a darker room and started to see flashes of light and a huge floater in.the middle of my eye. I went to an eye doctor he dialated my eyes and said it was pvd. It is very bothersome I wish they would go away.

  41. Jo Ann Britt says:

    I am a 77 year old female and according to my eye doctor, I have a very large floater in my right eye. I only see this floater when I go to bed at night and it’s a very dark room. If I leave a small nightlight on, I do not see the floater. It looks like a huge spider in a gel and covers the whole area of my face. It follows my eye movement. The doctor said I have a posterior vitreous detachment. The doctor said the gel in my right eye has liquified and is coming off the back wall of my eye. I never see this floater during the day. I do have blue flashes in my right peripheral vision, for a second, in the evenings, while watching TV. I do not understand why I only see the floater, when I go to bed, in the dark. I also have dry eye syndrome. I have had this floater for about 4 months. In the beginning, it was more like an upside down tree. Looked like branches with crystal leaves shimmering. It was a lot brighter. For the last two months, it has faded, somewhat, and looks like a large black spider. The room looks a little cloudy also. What worries me is that I only see the floater when I go to bed in a dark room. As long as I keep a small nightlight on, I don’t see the floater. I do use my iPad a lot during the day and evenings, for hours at a time. I would like to read your opinion on this subject. Thank you.

    • I don’t think I have a good explanation for you. Floaters are a “negative” phenomenon. People don’t see floaters per se, but they are actually seeing the shadows cast by some vitreous protein densities as light enters into the eye. The brighter the ambient light (including the resultant smaller pupils) usual yields a darker, more “contrasty” shadow. Your description of your subjective experience contradicts the usual expectation. In fact, if you are seeing some “phenomenon” in the absolute darkness, it is not a floater. You may also have a floaters, but they would not be responsible for visual symptoms.

  42. Robert_B says:

    Dr. Johnson, perhaps you can address a question I have been unable to find information about, except for what I’ve pieced together by looking at general information.

    I had SLT for glaucoma in each eye a few years ago. Within a month of the procedure, each eye developed a PVD – the eye with the first PVD was the first one with the SLT procedure, and the second one followed suit.

    Following the PVD, I developed epiretinal membranes in each eye – one of which became so bad I finally opted for ERM removal and vitrectomy. Unfortunately, this made things much worse, and I lost considerable central vision in that eye. The floaters are gone in that eye now – what irony, but the loss of vision is making the floaters in the fellow eye much more debilitating.

    Now, I’ve pieced together a theory, which was immediately discounted by my ophthalmologists. Following the SLT, I was given no anti-inflammatory drops. I’ve read that using an NSAID or Steroid drop following SLT is fairly standard practice.

    I’ve also read that inflammatory conditions are one of the possible causes of premature PVD. My contention is that the SLT procedure, without any anti-inflammatory post protection was the source of the my current state of affairs – very little useful vision in one eye, and massive floaters in the other. Do you have an opinion?

    I’m reluctant to have a YAG procedure done on the remaining good eye, as I don’t really know what the actual risks might be. My quality of life is very poor though, so I may eventually have to consider it. The amount of trash in that eye changes my vision 10 to 20 times a minute, making it difficult at best to focus on anything. My work, driving and hobbies are getting nearly impossible. What is the true baseline risk potential?

    Now the rant – It’s truly a sad state that debilitating floaters are not taken seriously by so many medical professionals, who have never experienced them, and think that you’re a whiner about “those little strands” that sometimes come into your field of vision, and don’t understand that they can completely block your vision at worst, and can diffuse and blur your vision at best (when light hits one of the floaters at the right angle, the resultant diffusion and diffraction of light, is truly unbelievable). They don’t understand that, yes, in front of an eye chart, I can see 20/25 if I sit and be patient for a minute or so. When the first massive floater shifts slightly and i say “I can see an A”, they say “good” and ask me what in the world I’m complaining about. Well, I have “20/25″ vision for a second or two every few minutes, but functionally it jumps from 20/25 to 20/200 10 times a minute. it’s like swimming through jello. Nobody gets it.

    It would be worth a trip for me to see you, simply to see if these really bad floaters are far enough from the retina to be treatable. My fear is that since I perceive them as being “massive” they must be very close to the retina, and therefore risky to zap.

    • I don’t have experience treating or managing post-SLT eyes, so my opinion won’t carry much weight in this particular regard. Your theory about post-treatment onset of PVD may be accurate, although most people have PVD’s spontaneously without any eye manipulation or inflammation. It may be just a coincidence, although human nature is such that we feel better when we can attribute causation and try to better understand “why”. I see it all the time with people trying to figure out why they now have floaters. My usual answer? “You are older now” or something like that. If this is a PVD caused by the SLT, it must be pretty rare and not a cause for public outcry. Similar to the rare occurrence of floaters in younger people after LASIK. So rare it is not a reportable public safety issue. No small reassurance to you individually, of course.
      Your other comments about the importance of floaters being ignored by most ophthalmologists seems pretty true based on what most of my patients have told me. I might disagree about your perception of the floater being large and assuming that it must be close to the retina. It might be just the opposite.

      • Robert_B says:

        Thanks for the comments. As a technician in another field, my nature is to look for the cause of a problem whenever possible – in particular to figure out how to prevent the problem from happening again. I’m not blaming anyone for any of my difficulties – the human body is a complex organism, each body is different in response to virtually anything, and medical science is not an exact science. I’m highly myopic, so PVD was probably inevitable. It just happened quite a bit earlier than I thought it would happen, and it was so coincidentally related to the SLT.

        Regarding the position of the floater, I would assume it’s very close to the fovea based on what I know about engineered optics, but only an exam would tell for sure. If I could just get rid of the 2 big floaters that transform my vision so radically in short periods of time, I could live with the rest of the trash.

        Two last questions, although the answers may be on your website. Does the YAG procedure have the potential to raise IOP (I have glaucoma)? As I also have some PCO following cataract extraction and IOL implant, would it be better to wait to have the PCO zapped after an exam and/or procedure for the floaters? I would think that using if you are using a laser triangulation aiming, you would rather have an even optical opacity to work with, rather than a small hole surrounded by the PCO remnants of variable opacity.

        Again, thank you. I may be knocking on your doorstep in the future.

        • A “live” discussion of the risks can be found HERE.

          A video showing how there is a difference between working through a large pupil vs. an implant lens vs. a post-capsulotomy opening can be found HERE.

          There is a small risk of an elevated eye pressure after treatment. Not all floater types share that risk. And I believe the risk is great with a higher baseline pressure, certain large anterior-positioned floaters, and probably greater a risk is post-cataract surgery.

          Regarding having a capsulotomy first? It depends. If the doctor is offering a capsulotomy because that is at least offering something that might help you continued complaints of blurry vision then it might not be necessary at this time. If the capsule of very hazy and cloudy, then it does make sense to have the capsulotomy done first. If you do have it done, I hope they create a a larger opening rather than smaller. The area of a circle is proportional to the square of its radius. The larger the much better to work through.

  43. Bill D says:

    I’m a retired engineer, 70, and my uncorrected vision naturally focuses at arm’s length. Other than wearing glasses to correct my nearsightedness, I’ve never had any eye problems, until yesterday.

    A couple of months ago, I had a routine dilated eye exam from an ophthalmologist when updating my eyeglass prescription. He said that he didn’t see anything to be concerned about, but I also didn’t have any complaints.

    Yesterday morning, while simply walking outdoors, what appears to be a squiggly tangle of thread suddenly appeared in my left eye about 10 degrees to the left of center. It is in perfect focus, it persisted all day and hasn’t changed this morning. It’s very annoying but maybe that’s due to the sudden onset.

    From reading your extremely informative website, it seems to be PVD very close to my retina (because it’s in focus). This makes me wonder if it may located too close to the retina to be safely treated with the laser (as with younger patients).

    My instincts are to wait and see if it changes since it’s only been 24 hours. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

    • I suggest waiting at least a month to allow the PVD to go to completion. Often the floaters will move further away from the retina and 1.) become softer-edged and blurrier and possibly less bothersome, and/or 2.) Move further away from the retina and be a better/safer candidate for treatment.

  44. Ruth says:

    Hello Dr. Johnson,

    I’m 57. Many years ago I did a lot of body building. The internal pressure of pushing myself too hard created floaters. A lot of them. I was also often very dehydrated back then (there is a lot I did not understand about good health back then). I’ve wondered if the vitreous humor was also dehydrated and contributed to the situation. Over the years I did adjust somewhat to the floaters but they did not go away.

    I went to an ophthalmologist who had a retinal scan done. The floaters were visible. He said the only treatment was to remove the fluid, then added that a woman he knew of who had it done went blind. “Live with them” he concluded. This was a year ago.

    The present: I recently started exercising at home. Push ups, crunches, etc. and I got more damned floaters (or is it possible that old ones repositioned themselves from the strain?). What a disaster. I teach in a big white room flooded with light and students waiting to pounce at the first sign of weakness. It is an impossible situation. My eyes don’t know whether to follow the floaters or the students I’m scanning the room for. I feel like each eye is attending to a different task resulting in chronically crossed eyes and a dopey expression. I’m sharp but this distraction can cause me to seem scattered. Teaching with a swarm of gnats around my head and a pride of lions on the horizon seems preferable. I have actually panicked walking into that classroom.

    Also, I refuse to go to the beach and am surrounded by wonderful beaches. Textured vistas are fine. The beach is a nightmare. My eyes and brain simply cannot cope.

    My floaters are a mixture of long, dark filaments and spots. They are throughout both eyes. I read in one of your replies that older floaters are not optimal for treatment. Why? I now have what appear to be new ones but they don’t seem any different from the old ones in terms of type. How can you tell old floaters from new ones? Might I be helpable?

    • Ruth, Thank you for the background information. There are a few statements and presumptions that I do not necessarily agree with. The first is that strenuous exercise “strains” or “stresses” the eyes. I’d like an explanation as to why you believe that. I also disagree with the unfair presentation of the option of the vitrectomy. There are people that have gone blind from cataract surgery as well, but I’ll bet your eye doctor performs those all the time. The vitrectomy is not without risk, but it also the definitive curative single-procedure option. For floaters that are not amenable to treatment with the laser, it is an excellent option if the floaters are bad enough and are affecting the quality of life to a significant degree. Regarding your statement “I read in one of your replies that older floaters are not optimal for treatment“. That does not sound like something I would write. If the person suffering floaters is 40 years old and they are describing that their floaters are pretty much the same as what they had back in their 20’s, then that may be an “older floater”. The point is not that the floater is older and can’t be treated, but that they likely still have a young persons floater. It is just 20 years later and nothing has changed. Understand that the typical young person’s floater DO NOT magically transform into the older, degenerative or PVD type floaters as they get older. Young people floater do not become older people floaters. Maybe that is what I was trying to inelegantly describe.
      Can I help you?
      I don’t know where your floaters are located or what type or if they can be safely treated. Ultimately it would take a personal visit here. On the other hand, if you live where there are pretty beaches, maybe I’ll pack up the laser and fly out there.

      • Ismael Ramirez says:

        I have only recently started working out, im 39 years old. I have been weight training on and off for two years. .weight training, but only recently did I realy put effort to my workout, suddenly I have been cursed with floaters. .. lots of them.. im going crazy!

  45. Michael Embley says:

    Fantastically informative site.

    I think I’m probably a prime candidate for this procedure; my floater developed in less than two days. It first appeared as a C-shaped line; I thought it was an eyelash at first. Then about 36 hours later a much darker mass resembling a cobweb (more like a pile of dark thread) appeared to the left of the C. Because of the rapid onset I saw an ophthalmologist the next day, who confirmed it was a floater, determined that my retina was OK…and told me nothing could be done.

    If this floater does not improve a LOT, I certainly don’t want to live with it. My question is: how long should wait for a floater to “get better” before considering treatment? Is there any increase/decrease in the chances of success with time?

    Thanks so much.

    • Thanks, Mike for the compliment on the website.
      I suggest waiting at least a month. Longer if you are seeing any peripheral flashes of light still at that time. This allows us to be convinced that things are stable, and sometimes moving further ( and more safely) away from the retina. If you doctor suggested a 4-6 week follow up exam, then you could wait until after that. Other than the “general” advice to wait a month or so, there is no other better or ideal window of time to treat. 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, meh, it doesn’t matter to me. They aren’t going anywhere. I want you to be convinced that they are not getting better on their own AND that you are not able to just ignore it like the well-intentioned doctors suggest will happen.

    • Ismael Ramirez says:

      Im feeling depressed and am losing sleep due to this problem. I never had vision problems and this is hurting me more than I can admit to my family. I believe my recent weight training efforts have caused floaters.. their seems to be a connection on several people on this here web site.. including myself.

  46. Mani says:

    I had PRK done just over two years ago. I developed eye floaters, but more in my left eye. Do you think this is a side effect of this surgery. I also developed dry eye syndrome and my eyes burn constantly. I’ve been to my opthomologist several times. My exam checks out to be fine. I’ve had floaters peripheral but not in my vision. I am just being caution and selective about what I should do about these floaters. I just don’t want to make it worst that it is. I’m trying to find another person who got this procedure and talk to them face to face or on the phone.

    • Unless the floaters occurred very soon after your corneal refractive procedure, it is unlikely related. If you find someone to talk to who has had the procedure, make sure they are about the same age, have had pretty much the same kind of floater and position in the eye and went to the same doctor you are considering going to for treatment. Otherwise you may be comparing apples to oranges. I 60 year old patient with an isolated Weiss ring floater due to a PVD may be a great candidate for treatment with 90-95 % removal of the floater in one treatment. If he/she were to talk to a 25 year old who may never have been a very good candidate AND saw another doctor, they get the impression that the procedure doesn’t work very well and miss out on the opportunity on a successful treatment. There is so much variability in the types and locations of floaters, patient expectations and personalities and, I think, a fair amount of variability between the few doctors that do offer the treatment and have significant experience. I does make it challenging for you to try to do you due diligence, I’ll admit.

  47. Mani says:

    what are the residual side effects having this procedure? Meaning, do you see more flashes or form another problem with your eyes. My brother has a friend that did this procedure with some other Doctor and stated to my brother, he wished he never did it. What are the side effects (short and long) from this procedure? What is the percentage of patience that develop long term side effects?

    • With caution, skill, and experience, there should not be any expectation of long term consequences. The risk is the moment you fire the laser. Then it is gone. It is not like radiation exposure where the effect is “stored” or cumulative, or medications where there is a half-life for the blood levels. This procedure has been around for 20-plus years and we have not seen an unusual rise in glaucoma, cataracts, or retinal problems in the middle- or long-term. Like anything, it is not zero risk. Neither are common procedures like cataract surgery and LASIK.

  48. Mani says:

    that’s funny about the Zumbia… Made my day! I think laughing more is a treatment for eye floaters.

  49. David Labagnara says:

    I have been a target shooter all my life, using pistols and rifles. My rifles are typically antiques and have a moderate to considerable amount of recoil. I never used a shot gun until 5 years ago, and after several outings shooting “five stand”, which requires 25 to 30 shots once or twice a weekly outing, I noticed more floaters in my right eye and my left eye was twitching in its socket. I gave up the shooting for a time and that went away. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago I attempted the shot gun shoot again and also fired an antique with considerable recoil. Three days after that, I got bright flashes like bolts of lightning in my right eye right peripheral. The doctor did not say I had a PVD, but I saw a circular floater much like a Weiss. The doctor didn’t see any hole or tear but will see me again in a week. I still see small flashes of light late in the evening, perhaps from eye fatigue? Have you heard of shooting causing these problems and would you recommend stopping the practice?

    • If you watch some of my treatment videos, you will see that I frequently ask my patient to move their eye rapidly to the left / right / up / down to get things a-movin’ in there. These simple, common, everyday eye movements cause significant swirling and internal turbulence of the liquefied vitreous fluid. I think these simple eye movements cause more disturbance of the vitreous than running, lifting, or in your case the recoil from a firearm. The only exception is that I do not recommend participating in Zumba classes. Not because it affects the eye, but I just don’t think men should be doing Zumba!

      The PVD is a one-time event. It’s done. Recoils or any other disturbing activity can not cause more PVD’s. “Probably” the floaters are as bad as they are going to be. So I would not recommend limiting your activities unless your local doctor says otherwise (with good justifiable reasoning).

      • David Labagnara says:

        Thanks Doc, appreciate the humor and information. Forgot to mention that my right cheek has always been laying on the stock as I sight, an old Army habit. I believe I actually beat myself up by doing this, as my cheek bone was sore for a few days and at the same time I first saw the flashing. So another question would be, have you seen damage after people have been in fist fights or suffered head trama during accidents? Thanks again for your very helpful and timely information. I’ll be going to Virgina if I decide to seek treatment.

      • Lisa says:

        Ok so are you teasing about not doing Zumba..cause I have this and I wanted to do Zumba it ok?

        • “I do not recommend participating in Zumba classes. Not because it affects the eye, but I just don’t think men should be doing Zumba!”
          Doing Zumba does not affect the eye.

  50. Manuel says:

    I have gotten more floaters in the past year. I went to my Opthalmologist to check for a retina tear or detachment. These floaters aren’t big ones but I have a lot in my left eye. Should I wait until for a year to see if they will sink or fade? It’s hard to concentrate for activities. My floaters are loose, I mean they spin in the corner of the eyes. Anyway, Do you think you could help me. My brother also has them as well. I’m 46 and he’s 48.

    • Without examining your eye, I can not definitively tell you “yes” or “no”. If your floaters had a fairly sudden onset of symptoms (or awareness of them), and your doctor described something like a posterior vitreous detachment, and especially if they clearly were able to see your floaters, then you will more likely be a candidate for treatment. If on the other hand, these are the same floaters you have seen for the last 10-15 years (see this or this), then it is less favorable to treatment.

  51. ahmad says:


    iam 28 male i have these tiny circular transparent circles that sometimes clump together
    and look like worms , they are very tiny in right eye and bigger in the left , i ve been to 4 doctors non of them saw anything could it be white blood cells ,
    n.b i am on depression medication for 8 years and under benzos for 6 , and i have problems with light and dark adaptation

    • Without the ability of examining your eye in person, I cannot render a proper diagnosis, but your description sounds like a classic young-person’s floater. If you have not read this section already, I will suggest reading the page at the following link:. younger patients are statistically less likely to be good candidates for safe and successful treatment with the YAG laser.

  52. Felipe Rocha says:

    Hello Doctor, I have floaters since age 13 and now I have 46
    I wanted to ask if these floats young person, but now is old, can be treated,

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      Let me re-phrase your question for clarity: “I have had the same floaters since I was 13. I am now 45 years old. Are these floaters treatable?”
      My answer is “I don’t know”. Every situation is unique. There is no magic age where the floaters typical of younger patients become treatable. I have described floaters types typically broken down by age. It is possible you have the same floaters, in the same position as when you were younger and may continue to have them for many more years. Conversely, I have seen people in their thirties with “older ” type of floaters as well. It is all quite individualized. -Dr. J

  53. Len says:

    Had both cataracts done two years ago, and three months ago. Same problem developed In both eyes about two months after surgery. Both eyes when looking from near to far a blur is present for less than a second, Like a curtain opening from side to side. Extremely annoying when driving and looking at the rearview mirror then the road ahead. I drive a racecar as a hobby.
    When the second Eye started the side to side blur I also noticed a flash of light on the outside of the eye, even in the dark, when I turn my head quickly, Saw lots of floaters during the day.
    I returned to my ophthalmologist the next day, no detached retina but he did see the floaters and also said I had an after cataract In the most recent Eye That would possibly need YAG laser treatment.
    Now it’s two weeks later, the flashes of light and the floaters are much better but not the side to side momentary blur. Would YAG laser treatment for the after cataract tend to make this momentary blur worse? I am 65, and otherwise have healthy eyes.
    I live in New York but will be in Palm Springs California from March 12 through the 27th.
    Is it feasible to see you and if needed get treatment in that time period?

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      The YAG capsulotomy procedure you are referring to is a common procedure done when the thin capsule that holds the artificial lens in place starts to cloud over. Treatment or no treatment, the awareness of the floater probably won’t change much. Having a YAG capsulotomy may change the clarity of the world “out there”, but the floater is not out there, but inside the eye. The shadow cast onto the retina from the floater does not have to pass through the lens capsule and so is not much affected by the procedure. Having a lens implant can reduce the working aperture of the eye for the laser down from 7-8mm diameter dilated pupil down to 5.5-6mm of the artificial lens. A capsulotomy can further reduce the working aperture. It does not prevent treatment, or increase the risk of the procedure, but make it more technically difficult sometimes. – Dr. J

  54. Howard Simon says:

    Dr. Johnson:

    I am 64 and had a PVD(right eye) last Monday. My opthamologist determined that I had a retinal tear and laser treated it. I have a cloudy ring shaped floater, darker at the edges. directly in the center of my vision. Is this a Weiss ring and is it treatable with your procedure. If so, how long should I wait to come see you for an evaluation. Do I need to give the laser treated area time to heal first? Thank you. Howard Simon

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      In an uncomplicated PVD, I’d still suggest waiting a month or so after the onset of symptoms. In your case with an argon laser retinopexy or photocoagulation, I’d wait a month or so after the laser treatment to allow full adhesion of the retina. Best if you can get the “all clear” and stable from your eye doctor as well.

  55. Ronit Zwebner says:

    Hi Dr. Johnson, I’m 65, female, & live in Jerusalem. Last month I developed a PVD in my right eye for the first time. Based on your comments it’s a partial Weiss ring. I’ve had it checked by my local opthalmologist who ruled out any complications & was told there is no treatment. I would like to treat it as I find it bothersome & was wondering whether you could recommend someone in Israel who practices the same techniques as you.
    Ronit Zwebner

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      I am not aware of anyone in Israel performing this procedure. I have listed the several doctors that do have some experience with the procedure. I cannot vouch for their experience or style or technique, though. I have listed them on my web site HERE. Someday this procedure (or something even better) will be more widely available but it will take a big shift in eye doctor attitudes to first recognize that eye floaters can significantly affect the quality of life for the floater sufferers. – Dr. J

  56. Stephen Adler says:

    Fascinating website and I wonder if your services can be used on me. A brief history. I am a 46 year old man. I was bitten by a tick and developed Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) infection in 2006.

    I am still fighting the disease today but am better then where I was at one time. I started developing floaters about 2007. My left eye is worse then my right eye. In both eyes I have huge snake-like tubular entity’s that drive me crazy. I can actually coil and uncoil these with the darting of my eye to the left or right. There is a pretty good mass when coiled up and they are transparent. (Are they alive like some kind of parasite)? Makes me wonder.

    Sometimes they seem to link together and criss-cross one another, like links in a chain. They are very weird looking indeed. But what also is going on is that I have thousands and I mean thousands of clear transparent circles floating in my vision and around these tubular structures. They appear as perfect circles and within these circles some have a darker circle. I often wondered if these could be some kind of eggs.

    My vision goes in and out of blurriness at times when these things come into my view. I’m at my wits end these things are driving me crazy. I don’t know what is going on and what to do, or if they are related to the Lyme disease infection.

    Anyways, is there any way that you think that the laser treatment would benefit me? Would you be willing to try and help me get rid of these things?

    I went to the University Of Michigan (Neuro Opthamologist, Kellogg Eye Institute) and was told to live with them. The doctor could see one of the tubular structure. Not so sure if he saw the circles. But that was back in 2008 and I have many more.
    Have you ever heard of a similar situation like mine?

    Thank you taking the time to read. I hope to hear from you soon.

    P.S. I had several brain MRI’s and CT scans and I have a pituitary tumor located around the optic chiasm. I was told this couldn’t be causing my problem. They continue to monitor this tumor and it is non cancerous.

    • vitreousfloaters says:

      The “thousands” of small circular structures sound like they may be old red blood cells. Occasionally when the vitreous separates from the retina (PVD) there can be an associated self limited small vessel tear. As far as the larger tubular structure: If your doctor saw it, it is more likely treatable. Most doctors have no incentive or expectation to find the microscopic vitreous condensations that are very close to the retina (which are usually not very treatable with the laser). If he/she readily saw it upon examination, then it is more likely in the mid-portion of the globe and may be treated. I can’t give definitive predictions based on yours (or anyone’s written or verbal) description, unfortunately. Is all this related to the Lyme disease? I’ll say probably not. Dr. J

      • Karl Adler says:

        Dr J Thanks for the quick response. I question if it is all related to Lyme disease or not. I do chat with many people on chat boards who have similar floaters that all seem to correspond with the Borellia (LD) infection.

        I too was curious if these dots are red blood cells or even white blood cells going after the infection. Or possibly what they call an entoptic phenomenon.

        Is this possibly an entoptic phenomenon? Being the dots are white blood cells moving in the capillaries in front of the retina of the eye?

        Thank You

        • vitreousfloaters says:

          The entoptic phenomenon due to white blood cells is seen more as very fast moving “commas” swirling around. More like a hybrid of white static and brownian movement. Less likely to be described as circular spots or target shaped. Those, I think are more likely RBC’s or possibly pigment cells, or retinal debris. Hard to say for sure. Dr. J

  57. Gloria Colon says:

    Hi Dr johnson I reside in las vegas. Iam 70 years old and about 10pm on 1/12/13 I was getting ready to go to bed,went I started to get sparkle on my left eye(my good eye) the next morning i had some floater. Called my opthomoligist and saw him the next day. he said he could see the floater and refered me to an eye retina Dr to rule out a tear. Saw the retina eye Dr. He stated I had a 1 ml tear and he sealed it with laser. He said he could not do anything about the floater My question is, how long should I wait to have the floater be remove if iam a good candidate for your procedure. Thanks

    Reply:Gloria, your brief description is strongly suggestive of a seven-onset posterior vitreous detachment. Most of these PVD’s are uncomplicated except for the formation of floaters associated with them. A small percentage of them him made pull and tug on the retina internally and that traction can cause a small retinal whole or tear. Although your situation is an exception, it is precisely the reason that people are recommended to get a good and thorough eye examination when they experience the sudden onset of eye floaters. It sounds like you were seen in a timely manner, and treated quite appropriately. The “spot welds” that the argon laser creates should adhere the retina to the underlying surface better than original equipment. As far as the potential for treatment of your floaters, it is a positive prognosticating feature that your local eye Doctor was able to see the floater. That, along with your age group makes you more likely to be a good candidate for treatment. To specifically answer your question, I would suggest waiting a couple of months to allow these jarring and adherence to fully form. Although the YAG laser does not create traction on the retina, there is no true medical urgency have floaters addressed. I would rather err on the side of conservativism and allow the retina to fully heal and stabilize. if you have further specific missions but your condition, you can always contact me privately through this website.

  58. Mary frank says:

    I am 65 and my floaters are so bad are like bubbles covering both eyes and was told will never chg and are vary large and only surgery will work. This is by a retina Dr. And do you know of any Dr on the West coast I can go to. I live in Las Vegas NV

    reply: I am in Southern California, right across the street from the Orange County Airport.

  59. Raymond Domzalski says:

    I recently developed a floater about two months ago. Saw an ophthalmologist and he said it might go away by itself and we would just watch it for changes for now. Maybe see him if nothing happens or it gets worse. I saw on Google where there’s a doctor in California that does surgery for this, but only will operate on older patients. I’m older, 76 years old. What bothers me about this is, why only older patients? Is that in case they screw up it won’t be as critical?

    reply: That doctor you are talking about is most likely me. First, sorry to hear about your floaters. Second, I find your interpretation of the young vs. older patients interesting. On my web site I described in great detail the problems and challenges of treating floaters in younger patients.
    Additionally, I do not refuse treatment to younger patients, I think it only fair, though, to inform these younger patients that statistically they are much less likely to be treatable. Their floaters are usually located too close to the retina to be safely treated with the laser. It is like saying that doctor X specializes in cataract surgery but only treats older patients. It is the older patient that has cataracts (mostly). Setting realistic expectations for the younger patients is a courtesy to them so they can make a decision based on realistic expectations. – Dr. Johnson

  60. Michael Fortuna says:

    Hi Dr. I have had floaters for at least 20 years and I believe they have gotten worse in recent years after lasik and of course with age. I am now 51 and wondering who you might recommend on the East Coast for a consultation? Thanks!!

    reply: Please read the section on my web site that addresses the question: “How do I choose a laser treatment doctor?” At the bottom of that page I list a couple of eye doctors on the East Coast with experiencing treating eye floaters. I hope that will answer your question. – Dr. J

  61. Raymond J Domzalski says:

    Tonight, while watching TV, I noticed a floater in my right eye. I’m a 76 year old male. Do these things get worse with age? Maybe that’s why I’ve become so erratic playing golf.

    reply: Raymond, A sudden onset of floaters is typically an age related phenomenon. If associated with a posterior vitreous detachment (they usually are at your age), then the condition should stabilize. It shouldn’t gey much worse, but it is unlikely to get better as well. This is different from conditions known to be progressive, like cataract and glaucoma and macular degeneration.

  62. Lisa Rogers says:

    Dr. J.
    I am a 56 yr. old female. I started wearing hard contacts on my 13th birthday. Approx. 15 yrs. ago I switched to Gas Perm lens. And as you can guess, as I have aged I needed bi-focal contacts. So about 4 years ago, I tried several pair, nothing seem to work. With this new venture, I also got an eye infection in my left eye, it took months to get rid of. I gave up contacts and starting wearing glasses. After a period of time I noticed, really bad floaters in my left eye, or at least that was what I thought they were. I went to Dr. to make sure it was not Cataracts, it was not. I have a bad floater(s) in left eye. Mine seem (to me) to run parallel, not in a circle, half moon, etc. Are there different kinds of floaters? (I got these after eye infection) I roll my eyes around a lot, to get it out of my vision, which only last a few second, but now it seems that I roll my eyes with out thinking about it, It looks so silly. Dr.(s) say that they will go away or break apart, and not be so noticeable, but it hasn’t happened as of yet.
    I would like to have laser surgery, to correct my vision, to get rid of these glasses,or at least for the most part, but wanted to do this in the right order. I live in Texas, and would to fly out to California if necessary. Or if you have an affiliate in Texas, it would make it easier
    Lisa R.

    reply: Lisa, floaters come to me in an infinite variety of shapes and sizes locations densities in configurations. The very classic one we often refer to is the Weiss ring type floater, but even these are really more of a Weiss ring-derived floater and may not be ring shaped at all. in reading your description it was not quite clear to me how long ago the floaters first showed up. If there have been no significant changes in the behavior of the floaters after a month or so, I think you can pretty much expect that they will remain stable like that. There is no mechanism inside the eye or within the body to find the phone floater and clear them out. They are quite inert in the eye and very well will remain there indefinitely unless something is done.
    I do not have any affiliates or colleagues in Texas or anywhere in the Midwest that performs this procedure with any regularity. The majority of my patients come from outside Southern California and they all have to endure the inconvenience and expense of travel along with the treatment. – Dr. J

  63. Helen C. deGuzman says:

    I’m a 60 year old woman who suddenly had floaters about a year ago, particularly in my right eye. However, what was so bothersome was that I had a big floater about the size of a grain of rice that suspended itself and I could see it every waking moment, 24/7. I went to two eye doctors who told me that my brain would eventually get used to it. Well, I didn’t want to accept this diagnosis because having such a big floater was truly affecting my emotional and physical well-being. I decided to take matters into my hands and discovered Dr. Johnson’s vitreous floater website after much research on floaters. The information given on his website was so impressive that I decided to travel all the way from Guam to California to see if he could help me with my floaters.
    After traveling for almost 17 hours by plane, I finally met with Dr. Johnson on June 29, 2012. After his examination, he said that he could treat me that very same afternoon which was so uplifting for me and it was the best decision I ever made! The big floater on my right eye is completely gone, and the quality of my vision has been restored.
    I’m so thankful to Dr. Johnson for his medical expertise and for treating my floaters. My life has been renewed because of this experience.

  64. Dave says:

    hi again–for me the experience of a PVD in my left eye was life changing, about 16 months ago, and now the other shoe has dropped, my right eye having a pvd which is even worse than the left. I never thought the left eye would be my “better” eye, but it is now!! What is interesting is that despite the huge clouds and weiss ring now obstructing my view in my right eye, and swishing in the opposite direction to my eye movements, I actually find dealing with my sight a bit easier than it was before the second pvd because the motion in both eyes is similar now–both go opposite to my eye movements, whereas before the second pvd the floaters in the left eye would go opposite, and those in the right (though there were many fewer) would follow my eye movements, so there would be a crossing in the middle which was essentially impossible to adjust to.

    My long term hopes still rest with yag surgery, and I am wondering how much time after a pvd (this one was about 10 days ago) I should wait before looking into booking some time with you–I have seen my local eye dr once and am seeing my them again in 3 weeks to make sure there has not been a retinal tear (there is not now and there is no sign of one)–

    thanks again
    Dave S

    answer: I suggest waiting about a month. I you are (still) having any peripheral flashes of light at 1 month, then wait a bit longer. The presence of flashes of light (usually brief and peripheral and best seem in dark or dim environment) are a suggestion the some of the vitreous is still adherent to the retina and “pulling and tugging” on it. The traction is seen as flashes of light. This is when someone is likely at their greatest statistical risk of a retina hole, tear, or detachment. When the flashes subside, then the risks drops way down to near zero. I don’t want to be anywhere near someone with the laser is they are about to develop a retina problem. Even if it is unrelated to my laser, it would be natural to blame it on the laser. Best to wait. Fortunately, the flashes usually subside in days or occasionally in a few short weeks. – Dr. J

  65. Lorrie says:

    I have been told since my very first eye exam when I was a teenager that I had floaters. I am now 60 years old and have also had laser eye surgery. But I have so many floaters it is as if I am seeing thru gauze. So if I were to have this treatment what are the odds of them returning in that I have had them since such a young age? I have had vitreous detachment now in both eyes.

    answer: Lorrie, first with the usual disclaimers: each eye is different and there is no foolproof and reliable way of describing the floaters or predicting their “treatability” without seeing them in person. Usually the floaters that people have in their teens are quite different from the ones that they experience in their 50’s or 60’s. The floaters that younger people describe are typically filaments and fine strands or dots with very definite shape and outline. These are most often located within 1 or 2 mm proximity to the retina. The one bit of good news is that when that patient experiences a posterior vitreous detachment, that event should pull all of that material away from the retina where they will be less bothersome or not seen out all. The bad news is that that patient may have bigger and more bothersome floaters associated with the PVD, such as the gauze that you described. So to answer your question, I do not think that these small and fine filament-like floaters would return as there is no longer a thick vitreous fluid to trap them close to the retina. If you are describing eye floaters that are like looking through gauze, then it is not likely the same type of floaters that you had when you are younger.

  66. Bob O'Brien says:

    I’m 54 years old and have had a large floater in my right eye since I was a child. Until just recently I’ve been told that there’s nothing that can be done and I just have to live with it, which I’ve done for a very long time. Due to this, I have always read through my left eye (which is 20/20) while my right eye just wanders. Being right-handed, this floater makes it difficult to aim a rifle as well as a few other activities.
    It’s not a ring-shaped floater but rather looks like a tight group of little strings or hairs, and it’s right in the center of the vision area of my right eye.
    Can you give me information on where I can go to get this corrected, and whether my insurance covers the procedure(s)?

    answer: Bob, There may be more to your eye history that may be important to know. Rarely are the eye floaters so bad that it would block or obscure your central vision enough to cause occlusion amblyopia and strabismus which what I think you have just described. This would be extraordinarily rare in a child unless there are some significant remnants of the hyaloid the did not regress and disappear before birth. I could not make a recommendation for treatment with me or anyone else until I had more information. You can send me a private email to: info(at) . If you would like to send records, you can do so to my fax: 949.253.5769 and I’ll be glad to take a look. – Dr. J

  67. Karen says:

    I am in Ohio. Do you have plans to open a treatment center here? I have no way to get there for evaluation and I just developed two large floaters last week. I am 56 and very nearsighted. These floaters are very distressing!

    I’m sorry, no plans for Ohio in the works although I wouldn’t rule out opening another office somewhere in the middle of the Country. Maybe I’ll wait to see where my daughter ends up going to college. In the meantime, I’ll be here in Southern California across the street from the Orange County Airport.

  68. Dave says:

    I had what might be described as a “trauma” induced PVD. About a year ago, I suddenly turned my eyes to look away from something and felt something give in my left eye.

    A few minutes later I saw a small red dot for only a second, then a swam of floaters filled the eye–and have been here ever since. They are several large masses (from my subjective view) that moves rapidly every time I turn my eye–in the opposite direction, like a windshield wiper.

    My right eye has significant increase in floaters in the past year or so as well, but they move much more slowly, and follow eye direction with some lag time –so I get this crossover effect from the floaters moving in opposite directions–very annoying.

    The left eye is also dry and irritated, and still has some slight light flashes on the far left periphery at times. I am sure the irritation is related to the same event as the floater–could this be a damaged vitreal sac that is moving back and forth? And, most importantly, is this windshield wiper effect something that can be helped with YAG, or other methods??

    Thank you

    answer: Dave, it may seem traumatic to you, but moving your eye rapidly would not be considered trauma even if it was the event that seemed to precipitate the posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). More likely there were aging changes to the vitreous that preceded this even my weeks perhaps. The near instantaneous shift of fluids that occurs with a PVD can make it appear traumatic. Regardless of how loose and liberated the vitreous is, it CAN NOT irritate the surface of the eye where dryness and irritation is perceived and takes place.
    If there are relatively specific groups and clusters of floaters, then the YAG laser may be helpful. If there is a diffuse, non-specific, cloudy, hazy sense of movement, then it may be more difficult or impossible to treat effectively. – Dr. Johnson

    • Dave says:

      thank you Dr Johnson for your answer–hard to say re the grouping vs hazy–there seems to be both, with a large out of focus cluster (?) that seems to move rapidly and opposite to my eye movement, and creates blurring of about 1/3rd of my visual field as it darts by. I believe my eye Dr said that it was a big grouping of floaters–and also that they were far enough away from the retina that he would consider “cutting” them loose–he apparently will do this occasionally with a YAG with floaters. I am not going to do this, will see you if anyone–thanks again

      answer: I have not found the “cutting them loose” to be a predictably effective technique. There is no primary strand that suspends or holds the floaters in position. Something as large as you have described probably will take a bit of work. It does not sound like a few well-placed shots would make a huge improvement. Oh and thanks for your vote of confidence. – Dr. Johnson

  69. I am 72 years old. I had cataract surgery at the age of 43, but I was considered too young to have an intraocular lens implant. I received a perforation in the capsule posterior by laser a few months later. I have 20-20 vision in my right eye with a contact lens. My left eye is amblyopic with 20-80 vision. About 6 years ago a large C-shaped floater developed in my right eye. I received the usual advice – the eye is healthy so learn to live with your floater. However, it drives me crazy and I would love to have it removed if it can be done safely, bearing in mind that I have poor vision in my left eye. What do you think?

    answer: A sudden-onset floater with a C-shape is likely a Weiss-ring (partial ring). These are my favorite floaters to treat because of the high success, immediate gratification, and especially their location which is usually in the center of the eye safely away from the retina and lens. I have carefully treated others with one good eye (or one eye only). You may very well be a good candidate. Every eye is different, and ultimately it takes an in-person evaluation to say for sure.

  70. Ken Doyle says:

    Hi, I’m 56, was always nearsighted until having cataract surgery lens replacement. Both eyes, but done about 9 years apart; most recent eye done 3 years ago. (I loved that they were able to dial-in the correction for the myopia; I’m now focusing about 18″ in the first eye done, and distant in the second.)
    Floaters began to appear about 5 years ago in the first eye done. My eye doctor said to learn to ignore them, of course. The floaters are worse in the first eye that had the cataract surgery. (Right eye). They wave around like a flag in the wind as I move the eyes. My doctor said he could “definitely see the floaters”, but I don’t have any further detail on what type they are.
    My question is, Is the laser procedure impeded by the cataract surgery artificial lenses present?

    answer: It is quite common for me to treat through an artificial implant lens. The main challenges with the implant lenses is a smaller diameter that I have to work through, typically about 5.5 mm. The typical fully dilated pupil is more like 7-8mm in diameter. The difference of 5.5mm vs 8 mm diameter is a 50% reduction in the surface area to work through. There is sometimes some funny glare and reflection from the lens implant, but all that said, I’ve had some very successful treatments through these lenses.

  71. Ruby Meyers says:

    First, I am 65 years old and fall often. On Christmas Eve 2011, I tripped and fell onto my right eye. I was taken to the ER at one of hospitals with double vision. By the next day, my double vision had corrected itself, but I was left with a floater that was larger than any floater I’ve had before. Since then, I have noticed hairlike strands in my vision. I figure the strands are scratches to my eye from the fall. I plan to make an appointment with the eye doctor, but I wanted to ask you about your laser procedure. I really didn’t think there was a procedure for floaters. Thank you, Ruby.

    answer: Ruby, I’m sorry to hear of the floater and I’m gad there’s no major damage to the eye. The hairlike strands you describe ARE NOT scratched in the cornea. Irregularities of the cornea, if significant , can blur or degrade vision but they would have to be more like permanent scars. The surface of the cornea heals very quickly and usually without scarring. Any moving shadows or images is almost by definition in the vitreous fluid. Most likely you experienced a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)and what you see are the shadows cast onto the retina. Very common in your age demographic. A PVD occurs in about 25% of 60 year-olds, and the incidence goes up from their. The good news is that these are usually treatable with the laser. They can also be removed by more traditional (and invasive) surgery but the retina specialists aren’t to inclined to offer it “just” for floaters.

  72. Jerry Vaughan says:

    my wife has a floater what can be done you are 200 miles from us

    It depends on the type of floater(s) and where it/they are located. If she is older than 45-50, and the floaters came on pretty suddenly and especially if your doctor was able to see the floaters, then she is more likely to be a candidate for treatment. If she is younger than 30-35, then the prospects are much less likely. If the floaters have been present for more than a month AND they are very bothersome affecting either (or both) the quality of vision or the quality of life, then it may be worth you time to make the drive down here for an evaluation at my office to find out if your wife is at least a candidate for treatment with the laser.
    Cheers, Dr. Johnson

  73. frieda Eagan says:

    Doctor I started having floaters in my right eye two months went to the eye doctor stated nothing wrong with my eyes, something going on in the brain, went to the doctor he ordered a mri with contrast no mass no tumor,I am 68 year old so MS was rule out no other symptoms no eleveted blood pressure no high closteral , I do have diabetits and over weigh, please help frieda eagan

    I would like to how confident you are that you have floaters. Self-diagnosed? As a general guideline, any moving shadows or moment-by-moment fluctuation in your vision is due to some density in your vitreous cavity. Problem of the tear layer, cornea, lens, retina, optic nerve, or any part of the brain can not duplicate the sensation and subjective experience caused by vitreous eye floaters.
    So the question then is do you have eye floaters based on what I just described? If so, is it possible your doctor is just not using the right lenses and lighting and magnification to see the floaters? It is possible even with well qualified and experienced eye doctors. Ordering an MRI may just be defensive medicine. If you wish, send me a private email or call my office. I’ll be glad to talk to you about your frustrating situation. Of course, without examining you in person, I’ll be speaking in generalizations. Every situation is different.

  74. Unette Worley says:

    I am a 75 year old woman, who is recently diagnosed with floaters of the left eye. My vision is rapidly decreasing in my right eye as well. With this information, what do you suggest as a doctor that I should do next? And am I a possible candidate for your procedure that you offer? I am also curious as to know what is the rate of floaters coming back, and what is the aftermath of this procedure.

    Hello Unette, You mentioned that your vision is decreasing in that right eye. Is that due to the floaters? or something else like cataract or macular degeneration? It is important to sort that out. Macular degeneration and cataract can both cause decreased quality of vision – BUT it is only floaters that cause moving shadows and fluctuation of vision from moment-to-moment. As far as candidacy for the treatment, there is no simple set of questions that will definitively determine your candidacy. I can say that floaters associated with a posterior vitreous detachment in the older age demographic are usually treatable with the laser. Different types of floaters (e.g. diffuse clouds vs. smaller and condensed floaters) are more or less efficiently treated and that assessment can really only be made in person. -Dr. Johnson

  75. Brian Wisniewski says:

    I have had laser eye surgery in both eyes. Will this affect treatment of floaters? I have had floaters all my life but within the last few years have seen an increase. I have been checked and my doctor has told me that it’s part of aging and there is nothing to do about it.

    Brian, I presume when you say “laser eye surgery” you are referring to laser vision correction to the cornea such as with the LASIK or PRK procedures (laser can also be used to treat retina holes and such, but less common). I quite commonly treat people with previous corneal refractive procedures. There are some changes to the cornea that may make my laser procedure somewhat less efficient, but it rarely anything that would affect the eventual outcome. The reason is that laser vision correction creates different optical zones within the cornea which may dissipate some of the laser energy. It is important to emphasize that prior laser vision correction does not increase any risk to the patient. I’ve written about this particular issue HERE. Regards, Dr. Johnson