An ophthalmologist who specializes in using the YAG laser speaks his take on vitreous eye floaters

Thought I’d share a video that I saw popped up on my YouTube recommendations:

Some key takeaways from the video:

  • Age and nearsightedness are both correlated to having floaters, but that doesn’t mean they are the cause. In reality, we have no idea what truly causes floaters.

  • There’s not much current science/research showing any interest in floaters (that he knows of) because floaters are not considered an eye health problem.

  • The vitreous space is an inert space mostly made up of water. The blood-retinal barrier prevents large molecules from entering the vitreous. If those molecules did pass through, there’s no living cells in the vitreous that can respond to them.

  • Protein strands within the vitreous humor are usually dispersed. They’re naturally sticky, but people are born with a non-stick coating on those protein strands. It seems that over time, these protein strands will eventually clump together and create the floaters. We do not know why this happens.

  • There are enzymes that can break down the collagen, but these enzymes are nonspecific. Therefore, introducing an enzyme to the vitreous humor (just to deal with a tiny floater) will most likely break it all down and make the floater problem worse.

  • He is wary of other so-called treatments for floaters in the eye, such as “supplements, or herbal therapy treatments, or ancient Chinese medicine tricks”, since there’s no way that it can even make an impact to the eye due to the blood-retinal barrier. For instance, an infection in the eye requires a direct medicinal injection into the eye itself, not by taking oral or intravenous therapy (IV) antibiotics.

  • People who experience floaters “going away” are actually floaters that move a bit further away from the retina, to which people become less aware of its presence. This happens because of PVD.

I’m not sure when this interview was done, but this video is from 2017. Thus it’s safe to say that the study done on pineapples and floaters hadn’t come out yet.

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Nice find! The floaters question definitely comes up regularly.

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strangely satisfying to watch him blast those things - bit scary though that you’re in his hands depending on him not to aim the laser too far back (then again, you’re in the surgeon’s hands for any kind of minor or major surgery). Interesting how sturdy those little buggers are and take multiple shots to break up

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I have had PVD’s occur in both eyes over the last few years and have ended up with particularly distracting floaters that I’d love to reduce or eliminate to improve my vision. It is really unfortunate that there isn’t more research being done in this area since it can be quite annoying, if not a direct eye health concern.

After reviewing the paper that was published on the Bromelain/pineapple therapy I have started to experiment with duplicating that experiment to see if it has any effect.

Failing that, I may eventually look into YAG laser vitreolysis if it gets any worse but I’m hoping to avoid that (or a vitrectomy) given the potential for lens or retinal damage and other side effects.

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I know right? :laughing: Totally reminds me of some PC shooting game, except in a more professional setting (and no mess ups allowed!).

I’m sorry to read that. Is your floaters really that bad to the point where you’re considering undergoing YAG laser vitreolysis? As in the video explains, people who have floaters that are too small or are too close to the retina aren’t good candidates for the procedure.

Hope you can keep us updated on your progress! :slightly_smiling_face: There’s also another paper that says a combo of bromelain (pineapple), papain (papaya), and ficin (fig) supplements, have helped reduce floaters. You can give this experiment a shot as well.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343903072_Treatment_of_Symptomatic_Vitreous_Opacities_with_Pharmacologic_Vitreolysis_Using_a_Mixure_of_Bromelain_Papain_and_Ficin_Supplement

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Well, yes and no. The issue is that a couple of them are fairly large and can obscure details when I’m looking at things. Most of the time it isn’t a big deal, but it can be when trying to focus on small details.

Given their ability to obscure my vision, I’d assume they are in line with the retina to some degree, but I asked my ophthalmologist about it once and he was the one that mentioned that a YAG laser treatment could break the big floater up or eliminate them. He’s mentioned that he can see them in my eye when he does the eye exams but didn’t suggest that their location would be a contraindication for candidacy for the procedure. That said, I’ve read that if they are close to being in-line with the retina that increases the risk of accidental retinal damage and the like.

Nice find, thanks! I’ll need to review that one as well. I’ve been taking bromelain supplements for a bit more than a week so far, but there is no easy way for me to objectively measure my level of success. So I’m monitoring it and hoping for subjective improvements. If anything my assumption is that the little floaters are more likely to be affected by this, but if one day I notice that I stop seeing the large one blocking my vision when scrutinizing small details, that would be amazing.

Either way, even if the bromelain doesn’t clear out my floaters, it does has some other documented positive benefits that may be helpful for my health. On the negative side, it can interact with antibiotics and anticoagulants (increasing effects in both cases) but I don’t need either of those, so I’m not too worried.

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Ok, so it seems like they’re manageable, just super annoying. I’m guessing they’re big enough to even have your ophthalmologist bring up the YAG laser vitreolysis option. Although you’re right about being cautious and trying the alternative pineapple/bromelain supplements first.

It’s probably a good idea to keep track of that big one in particular, as a baseline for observing improvement. My guess is that one will most likely break up into smaller chunks first before actually disappearing. That’ll be visually easier to see and record.

All the best of luck to you! :+1: Let us know how it goes!

(Reuploading the same video because the original one got deleted)

I had floaters at the age of 8 or so, when I had -2.5. So definitely not correlated to age or higher myopia.

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