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Floaters Treatment

Do I have floaters

If you see black or grey specks of squiggly lines, strings, dots or cobwebs that float around when you move your eyes, then it could be floaters in your vision.

"If you experience the sudden onset of a black shadow, flashes of light, a curtain-like effect, or a sudden loss of vision, please seek immediate medical attention at A&E."

What are floaters

Floaters are shapes that can appear in our vision due to small pieces of debris that 'float' in the vitreous, a jelly-like substance located at the back of the eye. The vitreous is firmly attached to the retina, but as we age, it may start to separate and liquefy, breaking up into smaller pieces. These semi-transparent pieces of the detached jelly cast shadows on the retina, which we perceive as floaters.

Floaters viswanathan shrewsbury retina surgeon
Floaters shadow viswanathan shrewsbury retinal surgeon

What do floaters look like

Floaters are small particles that can appear in a person's field of vision, and can come in various shapes and sizes. They are most noticeable when looking at a bright uniform background. If a person tries to focus on a floater, it tends to move away from their direct line of vision. Floaters can resemble semi-transparent hairs, black or grey specks, squiggly lines, tadpoles, small flies, or cobweb-like shapes that drift across the vision.

Floaters retinal surgeon shrewsbury telford

Floaters in visual field when looking at uniform bright background

Will I be affected by floaters

Floaters are generally harmless and do not interfere with vision. However, as we age, the vitreous gel in the eye can liquefy and break up into smaller pieces, leading to posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) in 70% of people by the age of 70. This can cause a sudden increase in the number of floaters a person sees. While most people learn to ignore floaters over time, some individuals may experience persistent floaters that interfere with daily tasks and affect vision quality. Short-sighted people may be more prone to developing floaters, and their frequency may increase with age. In rare cases, eye inflammation can also cause floaters.

Curtain effect retinal detachment viswanathan shrewsbury retinal surgeon

Curtain like visual defect caused by retinal detachment

Could floaters cause serious problem

Floaters typically represent normal age-related changes in the eye and are harmless for the majority of patients. However, in about 10% of patients who develop posterior vitreous detachment, there is a risk of retinal tear which requires laser treatment. If a retinal tear is left untreated in its initial stages, it can lead to a retinal detachment, which is similar to wallpaper peeling off a wall. This condition can cause blindness, which is why it is crucial to undergo a dilated complete retinal examination as soon as new floaters or changes in vision are noticed.

What is the treatment for floaters

Floaters are usually harmless and may become less noticeable over time. However, in some patients, they can persist and affect the quality of vision, making it difficult to perform daily tasks. In these cases, a vitrectomy operation can be performed to remove the vitreous along with the floaters. Generally, we do not recommend any form of treatment for floaters that do not cause significant visual problems in the majority of patients.

Vitrectomy Surgery for floaters - Sutureless

The removal of the vitreous jelly and floaters from inside the eye is called vitrectomy, which is performed through three keyholes in the eye without the need for sutures. In some cases, a special gas bubble may be left inside the eye, which dissolves on its own after a few weeks. If gas is used, patients are instructed to position their head in a certain way for a period of up to 7 days and avoid flying or going to high altitudes until the gas bubble disappears.


The operation can be performed under local or general anesthesia as a day case procedure and typically takes about 30 to 40 minutes. If a cataract is also present with floaters, both can be removed at the same time as a single procedure.

How successful is the surgery

This surgery has very high success rate in removing troublesome central floaters. It is impossible to remove all floaters and some patients may still see few floaters even after surgery, but they will be lot less compared to pre-surgery floaters and these floaters generally do not require additional surgery.

Where can I find further information

Understanding macula hole surgery can be complicated. This information leaflet may not cover all the concerns you may have about this procedure.Further information can be found at the following websites:

Information leaflet downloads

Floaters Information leaflet

Scientific Evidence

The information mentioned here is based on a variety of sources, including latest published research and the Britain & Eire Association of Vitreoretinal Surgeons.


It is impossible to diagnose and treat patients without complete eye examination by an ophthalmologist. I hope the above information will be of help before and after a consultation which this information supplements and does not replace. This information must not be used as a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other health care professional.

If you have any concerns about your condition or treatment, please ask your surgeon Mr Viswanathan. We are not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for ANY form of damages whatsoever resulting from the use (or misuse) of information contained in this page or found on web pages linked to from this page.