When will my floaters disappear?

written by Dr Kenneth Fong Choong Sian on 15 July 2012

Almost all of us will experience seeing spots or lines in our vision at some point of our life. This is commonly known as “floaters”. This is sometimes an early sign of retinal detachment and you should seek medical advice. Floaters happen because the vitreous gel in our eye shrinks and detaches from the retina. The vitreous gel is normally attached to our retina. When this gel detaches, this results in a “posterior vitreous detachment” or PVD. Rarely, this can cause a hole in the retina.

 
Retinal holes can be treated with laser
If there are holes in your retina, this needs to be treated urgently to prevent retinal detachment from occurring. We usually use a laser beam to seal the hole. If retinal detachment has occurred, this will require urgent vitrectomy surgery.
 
Floaters can be very annoying and affect your quality of life
I have many patients who are bothered by these floaters. Floaters can be of various shapes and sizes. They can appear like black spots, wavy lines, spider webs, or tadpoles moving around. These floaters usually appear in our middle age but it can happen in younger people who are myopic. The good news is that these floaters will get better with time as the gel in our eye gradually becomes more liquified. This means the floaters will move out of view. The bad news is that it can take a long time for the floaters to disappear – up to many months.
 
There are no eye drops or medications you can take for floaters. Some doctors offer laser treatment to make the floaters disappear using a YAG laser. I am not very keen on this as the laser can potentially damage your retina and cause retinal holes. If there are many things in the eye that are blocking your vision and causing visual problems, then vitrectomy surgery may the best option to permanently remove them. Modern vitrectomy surgery is now done without sutures and is very safe.
 
Have a great week !
 
Dr Kenneth Fong Choong Sian
Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia