We can now use a YAG laser, a laser used in eye surgeries for decades, in a specially designed way to vaporize the vitreous strands and opacities that cause floaters. When approving this procedure, the U.S. FDA classified this as a “non-significant risk procedure.” Studies compiled by ophthalmologists after the FDA’s analysis reflect the same conclusion. Ophthalmologists’ high success rates, combined with the low complication rates, make this procedure a great option for patients suffering from floaters.
The use of vitreolysis dates back to the 1980s when Professor Aron Rosa, Paris, France, and Professor Franz Fankhauser, Berne, Switzerland, who were pioneers in the use of YAG lasers, published on their success with vitreolysis. Since then, clinical studies have shown vitreolysis to be an effective treatment approach, which offers a high degree of patient satisfaction. Despite these advantages, vitreolysis is generally not taught, nor endorsed, by ophthalmology residency programs. This is due, in part, to the belief that floaters are benign and do not require treatment. Indeed, many ophthalmologists consider floater treatment to be unnecessary. As a result, vitreolysis has not been widely practiced and is performed only by a small number of specialists.