Floaters Only Vitrectomy

Posted by susan2018 @susan2018, Wed, Mar 6 9:40am

I am wondering if anyone has had an FOV, Floaters Only Vitrectomy, and would be willing to share their experiences. For at least two years I was plagued with the constant irritating presence of gauzy, wispy, moving clumps that would obscure my vision and make reading and driving a tiring challenge. Prior to this I had had cataract surgery and a lens exchange surgery. Many, many follow up appointments and a second opinion did not pinpoint a reason for my continuing complaints. Although I did not complain of dry eyes, I was led to believe that was my issue and was treated with Xiidra and then Restasis and then even both at the same time, with no improvement in my symptoms. Finally a follow up appointment with a new ophthalmologist in the practice and my description of what I was seeing led to a diagnosis of a degenerating vitreous and a referral to a vitreal surgeon. Last week I had a vitrectomy to remove the vitreous. Despite the after effects of the surgery, the next day when the eye patch and bandages came off, I could immediately tell that my vision in that eye had cleared. It has been such a relief! I am hoping my recovery is uneventful and am now anticipating following up with the surgeon to schedule the procedure on my other eye. Has anyone experienced a situation similar to mine? Why would my problem not be recognized and diagnosed sooner? I have wondered if I simply was not able to describe my symptoms well enough or if ophthalmologists tend not to recognize or acknowledge how debilitating the condition can be. I understand that over time and with age the vitreous does degenerate for all people. Do only a few people experience what I did during that process or are there many people experiencing it’s deleterious effects on their vision and are just living with it, or as in my case, are not able to get a diagnosis from their eye care providers? I should add that I am in my early 70s and was extremely nearsighted my entire life. Anyone out there experience what I did?

This is a great question, I have the same things you had am going through the same thing right now I can see 20/20 but I know I need a vitrectomy too and soon! My doctors are kind of brushing me off though even when I let them know how bad my vitreous gel in my eye is.

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@michaels777

This is a great question, I have the same things you had am going through the same thing right now I can see 20/20 but I know I need a vitrectomy too and soon! My doctors are kind of brushing me off though even when I let them know how bad my vitreous gel in my eye is.

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@michaels777 I was excited to read your post on another thread about all the problems you’ve had since cataract surgery. I felt like I was reading a summary of my nearly exact experiences. Cataract surgery, toric lenses for monovision, macular edema, replacement of one of the lenses because it would not stay in position, YAG the same as you, PRK to touch up my correction. THEN two years of multiple visits back to ophthalmologist complaining of similar problems as yours, particularly the floaty, gauzy, grayish white patches and glare obscuring my vision. All this time when they checked my vision it didn’t reflect how hard it was to see because I’d blink a lot and move my head to clear my vision in order to read the eye chart quite well. . So they kept thinking my vision wasn’t really that bad. I got a second opinion about my problems with no insight. I was led to believe my problem was dry eye, and was first put on Xiidra, and Restasis, and both at the same time with no improvement. Perhaps I wasn’t describing my problem well enough or maybe it wasnt being recognized for what it was but months went by trying eye drops with no improvement. The problem was most apparent in one eye at first, but the other eye, my near vision reading eye, seemed ok so for a time I decided to give up on complaining. But when it started happening in that eye I went back to the ophthalmologist, not to the one who had done my surgeries because he was so booked up, but to his new partner. I told her of my symptoms, the moving patches, how much effort it was taking to drive and read and that I was being treated for dry eye but I didn’t think that was the problem—or maybe I was just going crazy! She looked in my eyes, told me I wasn’t going crazy, and said that my vitreous was degenerating. And that she was sorry and that as ophthalmologists they don’t like to have to say it, but that there is nothing she could do. BUT she could refer me to a vitreoretinal surgeon for an opinion if I wanted. She did say that whatever I did, she would not recommend a laser as some practitioners are promoting for the problem with my vitreous. I thought about it for a time, not entirely convinced it would help after my experiences up until this time, but then did ask for a referral. The surgeon looked in my eye, said what was going on, that the deteriorating vitreous was casting shadows on my retina which was obscuring my vision, and volunteered that a vitrectomy was appropriate for what he was seeing (and what I WASN’T seeing!) Like I said, the moment the patch came off the day after surgery, even with the gas bubble they put in the eye in surgery, what I could see above that was clear! It has been amazing. It has been two weeks and my recovery has been uneventful. I see the surgeon this week and will ask about doing my other eye, which bothers me even more now that my other eye is clear. I understand this degeneration happens with age, and especially for persons who are very near sighted. I don’t know if that applies to you. And I don’t know why it is a problem for some people and not for others. It seems to me a misnomer to call the surgery Floaters Only Vitrectomy because what I experienced wasn’t like any floaters I had previously had. You learn to ignore floaters but you can’t ignore these moving patches that obscure you vision. Don’t give up! I almost did because for so long no one seemed to understand what I was experiencing. I would be very interested in hearing any updates you might post about how things go for you.

Liked by michaels777

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@susan2018 This is interesting. I didn't know there was a procedure to remove a detached vitreous. I have them too and have to wait for them to settle when I want to see clearly. I was told by an opthalmologist that there is nothing that can be done about them and it happens with age. It's annoying because I am an artist. I did read that being nearsighted increases the risk of this. It may have something to do with the shape of the eye ball because it is elongated and "egg" shaped in a near sighted person which causes the image to focus in front of the retina. My vision has improved on its own and I am not as nearsighted anymore which makes me wonder if my eye balls changed shape more toward a sphere and in doing this released the vitreous. How well did this procedure work and how much has your vision improved?

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@jenniferhunter I’m sorry I didn’t respond to you sooner about my experience with vitrectomy for “floaters.”Yes, I too was very near sighted since childhood and yes, the vitreous does deteriorate with age. But it is not true to say there is nothing to be done about it. Opthalmologists we usually see cannot help us, but ophthalmologists who vitreoretinal surgeons can. It has been about two months since I had surgery on one of my eyes. My recovery has been uneventful so far. There was minor discomfort after surgery and for a week or so and my eye sometimes feels dry and scratchy but even if this never got better I would gladly exchange it for being rid of the “floaters.”My vision in that eye right after the surgery was 20/30. Last week it was 20/20. The surgery to remove the vitreous that had detached and degenerated and was obscuring my vision with floaty, blotchy, gauzy spots and clumps was noticeably successful the next day when the patch on the eye was removed. You say you clear your vision by waiting for these floaters to settle. How long have floaters been bothering you? My floaters have been obvious to me for several years, one eye sooner than the other. Mine did not settle, I would have to constantly move my head and blink to get the floaters out of my central field of vision. It was wearing and made driving and reading difficult and tiring. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for for an artist. My surgeon told me that they cannot determine by looking into the eye how big a problem the deteriorating vitreous is for the patient. In some cases it would appear to them that it should be a huge problem but the patient has no complaints. And conversely, it doesn’t appear to them so significant and yet the patient is terribly affected. I think surgeons are reluctant to rely on subjective reports from patients. That and the fact that vitrectomy has a slight risk of a detached retina has led ophthalmologists to discount patient reports and distress. I told an opthalmolist that I think calling this surgery FOV, Floater Only Vitrectomy, is really a misnomer. While technically descriptive it subtly diminishes the seriousness of the experience for the patient because the phenomena experienced by many people with a deteriorating vitreous is unlike any floaters previously experienced in life. One learns to ignore the occasional floater. You can’t learn to ignore obscuring clouds or blotches if they remain in the central field of vision. I am eager to proceed with surgery on my other eye but must wait a few more weeks.

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@susan2018

@jenniferhunter I’m sorry I didn’t respond to you sooner about my experience with vitrectomy for “floaters.”Yes, I too was very near sighted since childhood and yes, the vitreous does deteriorate with age. But it is not true to say there is nothing to be done about it. Opthalmologists we usually see cannot help us, but ophthalmologists who vitreoretinal surgeons can. It has been about two months since I had surgery on one of my eyes. My recovery has been uneventful so far. There was minor discomfort after surgery and for a week or so and my eye sometimes feels dry and scratchy but even if this never got better I would gladly exchange it for being rid of the “floaters.”My vision in that eye right after the surgery was 20/30. Last week it was 20/20. The surgery to remove the vitreous that had detached and degenerated and was obscuring my vision with floaty, blotchy, gauzy spots and clumps was noticeably successful the next day when the patch on the eye was removed. You say you clear your vision by waiting for these floaters to settle. How long have floaters been bothering you? My floaters have been obvious to me for several years, one eye sooner than the other. Mine did not settle, I would have to constantly move my head and blink to get the floaters out of my central field of vision. It was wearing and made driving and reading difficult and tiring. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for for an artist. My surgeon told me that they cannot determine by looking into the eye how big a problem the deteriorating vitreous is for the patient. In some cases it would appear to them that it should be a huge problem but the patient has no complaints. And conversely, it doesn’t appear to them so significant and yet the patient is terribly affected. I think surgeons are reluctant to rely on subjective reports from patients. That and the fact that vitrectomy has a slight risk of a detached retina has led ophthalmologists to discount patient reports and distress. I told an opthalmolist that I think calling this surgery FOV, Floater Only Vitrectomy, is really a misnomer. While technically descriptive it subtly diminishes the seriousness of the experience for the patient because the phenomena experienced by many people with a deteriorating vitreous is unlike any floaters previously experienced in life. One learns to ignore the occasional floater. You can’t learn to ignore obscuring clouds or blotches if they remain in the central field of vision. I am eager to proceed with surgery on my other eye but must wait a few more weeks.

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@susan2018 Thanks so much for your reply. I've been aware of the loose vitreous in my left eye for a few years. I'm not sure, but maybe 5 years ago? The right eye happened about a year after the left. Mine settle when I concentrate on holding my eye still. Blinking doesn't affect it, but they move after I move the direction of my gaze. It might take about 2 or 3 seconds for them to settle. They seem to move the opposite direction of where my eye turns which makes sense because that is how water reacts if you slosh it in a bucket. If you turn the bucket, the water stay stationary. I thank you for sharing your experience. Please check in and let me know how you're doing when you have the other eye done.

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@jenniferhunter

@susan2018 Thanks so much for your reply. I've been aware of the loose vitreous in my left eye for a few years. I'm not sure, but maybe 5 years ago? The right eye happened about a year after the left. Mine settle when I concentrate on holding my eye still. Blinking doesn't affect it, but they move after I move the direction of my gaze. It might take about 2 or 3 seconds for them to settle. They seem to move the opposite direction of where my eye turns which makes sense because that is how water reacts if you slosh it in a bucket. If you turn the bucket, the water stay stationary. I thank you for sharing your experience. Please check in and let me know how you're doing when you have the other eye done.

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@jenniferhunter Everyone’s experience dealing with the floaters seems subtly different, for example, your holding your head still and letting them settle vs my need to move my head and gaze to clear a path through my central vision. Yet, the shared complaint is that they are an interference that takes effort and energy every moment of the day. It took me a couple frustrating years to get a diagnosis. Part of the problem seemed to be that when my vision would be checked, with effort and my repeated clearing of the floaters during testing, my sight was good. They just didn’t seem to understand, and perhaps I didn’t completely either, and I evidently wasn’t able to explain, that my problem wasn’t my vision, it was that my vision was being obscured. I’ll keep in touch.

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Yes gauzy, wispy clump blocking vision in my left eye.
Drives me nuts!

Liked by susan2018

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@susan2018

@michaels777 I was excited to read your post on another thread about all the problems you’ve had since cataract surgery. I felt like I was reading a summary of my nearly exact experiences. Cataract surgery, toric lenses for monovision, macular edema, replacement of one of the lenses because it would not stay in position, YAG the same as you, PRK to touch up my correction. THEN two years of multiple visits back to ophthalmologist complaining of similar problems as yours, particularly the floaty, gauzy, grayish white patches and glare obscuring my vision. All this time when they checked my vision it didn’t reflect how hard it was to see because I’d blink a lot and move my head to clear my vision in order to read the eye chart quite well. . So they kept thinking my vision wasn’t really that bad. I got a second opinion about my problems with no insight. I was led to believe my problem was dry eye, and was first put on Xiidra, and Restasis, and both at the same time with no improvement. Perhaps I wasn’t describing my problem well enough or maybe it wasnt being recognized for what it was but months went by trying eye drops with no improvement. The problem was most apparent in one eye at first, but the other eye, my near vision reading eye, seemed ok so for a time I decided to give up on complaining. But when it started happening in that eye I went back to the ophthalmologist, not to the one who had done my surgeries because he was so booked up, but to his new partner. I told her of my symptoms, the moving patches, how much effort it was taking to drive and read and that I was being treated for dry eye but I didn’t think that was the problem—or maybe I was just going crazy! She looked in my eyes, told me I wasn’t going crazy, and said that my vitreous was degenerating. And that she was sorry and that as ophthalmologists they don’t like to have to say it, but that there is nothing she could do. BUT she could refer me to a vitreoretinal surgeon for an opinion if I wanted. She did say that whatever I did, she would not recommend a laser as some practitioners are promoting for the problem with my vitreous. I thought about it for a time, not entirely convinced it would help after my experiences up until this time, but then did ask for a referral. The surgeon looked in my eye, said what was going on, that the deteriorating vitreous was casting shadows on my retina which was obscuring my vision, and volunteered that a vitrectomy was appropriate for what he was seeing (and what I WASN’T seeing!) Like I said, the moment the patch came off the day after surgery, even with the gas bubble they put in the eye in surgery, what I could see above that was clear! It has been amazing. It has been two weeks and my recovery has been uneventful. I see the surgeon this week and will ask about doing my other eye, which bothers me even more now that my other eye is clear. I understand this degeneration happens with age, and especially for persons who are very near sighted. I don’t know if that applies to you. And I don’t know why it is a problem for some people and not for others. It seems to me a misnomer to call the surgery Floaters Only Vitrectomy because what I experienced wasn’t like any floaters I had previously had. You learn to ignore floaters but you can’t ignore these moving patches that obscure you vision. Don’t give up! I almost did because for so long no one seemed to understand what I was experiencing. I would be very interested in hearing any updates you might post about how things go for you.

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@susan2018 Follow up: So I saw my retinal surgeon today and she agreed to do a FOV, I am nervous yet excited! I won't have surgery until June for my right eye first, but I will follow up here with my results then. As far as my massive long and thin starburst and haze when looking at lights that happened only after my YAG treatment, my surgeon can only guess that these are due to my previous Lasik procedures done 20 years ago. We have SO much more to learn about the delicate nuances of our eyes, and I have(among others), taken our sight for granted all this time.

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@michaels777

@susan2018 Follow up: So I saw my retinal surgeon today and she agreed to do a FOV, I am nervous yet excited! I won't have surgery until June for my right eye first, but I will follow up here with my results then. As far as my massive long and thin starburst and haze when looking at lights that happened only after my YAG treatment, my surgeon can only guess that these are due to my previous Lasik procedures done 20 years ago. We have SO much more to learn about the delicate nuances of our eyes, and I have(among others), taken our sight for granted all this time.

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@michaels777 whatever you said today must have convinced her. At the same time that I’m astounded by all that can be done, I’m also acutely aware of all that is not known. There is a lot of educated guessing going on. Like being led to believe my problems were dry eyes, when it was really the degenerating vitreous. It’s been 2 month today since my surgery and my eye feels pretty good, just a bit scratchy particularly when I wake up in the morning. I am still on steroid eye drops but have tapered down to once a day. I go back to surgeon in two weeks and hope to schedule my other eye for a couple weeks after that. I will await your report in June.

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Hi @susan2018, Just checking in to see how you are doing. How is your eye? Did you get the other eye done yet?

@michaels777, how are things with your eyes? Any changes? Are you still on track to have surgery in June?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @susan2018, Just checking in to see how you are doing. How is your eye? Did you get the other eye done yet?

@michaels777, how are things with your eyes? Any changes? Are you still on track to have surgery in June?

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@michaels777, @colleenyoung In fact, I had my second surgery in Edina MN last Tuesday, April 23. The first eye seems to have recovered nicely since the vitrectomy the end of February. All the blotchy moving gauzy blotches are gone from that eye, my “distance” eye, since I have vision correcting lens implants. I no longer fear that while driving they might float across my field of vision obscuring the road and traffic. Last week’s surgery was on my “near vision” eye, both a vitrectomy, removing the gel in the back of the eye, and an epiretinal membrane stripping from the retina. This membrane can form from seeding cells from a degenerating vitreous and can eventually cause distorted vision. So far so good on this one. I saw the surgeon the day after surgery, will again two weeks after, and then a month. The moving floaters in this eye had been particularly bothersome, causing effort with reading and it was immediately noticeable that they are gone. In place of the gel, a gas bubble is placed in the eye, which will dissipate naturally as my body replaces the space with clear fluid. The bubble is sitting down in my field of vision for reading so I am eagerly awaiting it being gone, about 1-2 weeks, if it goes like the first eye. I am on antibiotic and steroid drops and a weight restriction. The results of the vitrectomy surgery have been nothing short of a miracle, and I don’t use that word loosely. I do not understand why it took so long for my diagnosis. I went for two years plus with multiple ophthalmologist visits until a new opthalmologist referred me to a retinal specialist. After so many doctor visits and trying so many things with no relief, I almost didn’t make the effort to travel 150 miles to the retinal specialist office, not quite believing that there was an answer to my problem. Once I saw him, I proceeded quickly to surgery and now am so grateful for the help I got.

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@susan2018

@michaels777, @colleenyoung In fact, I had my second surgery in Edina MN last Tuesday, April 23. The first eye seems to have recovered nicely since the vitrectomy the end of February. All the blotchy moving gauzy blotches are gone from that eye, my “distance” eye, since I have vision correcting lens implants. I no longer fear that while driving they might float across my field of vision obscuring the road and traffic. Last week’s surgery was on my “near vision” eye, both a vitrectomy, removing the gel in the back of the eye, and an epiretinal membrane stripping from the retina. This membrane can form from seeding cells from a degenerating vitreous and can eventually cause distorted vision. So far so good on this one. I saw the surgeon the day after surgery, will again two weeks after, and then a month. The moving floaters in this eye had been particularly bothersome, causing effort with reading and it was immediately noticeable that they are gone. In place of the gel, a gas bubble is placed in the eye, which will dissipate naturally as my body replaces the space with clear fluid. The bubble is sitting down in my field of vision for reading so I am eagerly awaiting it being gone, about 1-2 weeks, if it goes like the first eye. I am on antibiotic and steroid drops and a weight restriction. The results of the vitrectomy surgery have been nothing short of a miracle, and I don’t use that word loosely. I do not understand why it took so long for my diagnosis. I went for two years plus with multiple ophthalmologist visits until a new opthalmologist referred me to a retinal specialist. After so many doctor visits and trying so many things with no relief, I almost didn’t make the effort to travel 150 miles to the retinal specialist office, not quite believing that there was an answer to my problem. Once I saw him, I proceeded quickly to surgery and now am so grateful for the help I got.

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@susan2018 It's great to hear that you are doing so well. I'm glad everything went perfectly for you, and that you will have the gift of good vision. It is amazing that this is possible. thanks for sharing your experience.

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Hi Susan and others who responded – I am dying to know who you saw for this surgery. I have been working with a team at Mass Eye and Ear who really don't want to do a Vitrectomy, and are talking in stark terms about how dangerous it is. Meantime, I am sooooo unhappy with my vision and it is eating at me day and night. Can you share who your docs are and where they are found?

Paul L.

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@paulloefstedt

Hi Susan and others who responded – I am dying to know who you saw for this surgery. I have been working with a team at Mass Eye and Ear who really don't want to do a Vitrectomy, and are talking in stark terms about how dangerous it is. Meantime, I am sooooo unhappy with my vision and it is eating at me day and night. Can you share who your docs are and where they are found?

Paul L.

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I want to be clear that I can only report my own experience with vitrectomy for floaters and make no recommendations to anyone as to what is appropriate for them. I am sure patient age, eye condition, and symptoms as well as surgeons’ experiences are major factors in decisions relating to surgery. That said, I just had my final follow up with my surgeon after my second eye was done. (Surgeon Dr Robert Mittra of VitreoRetinal Surgery with a number of offices throughout Minnesota) My surgery was in Edina MN, a suburb of Mpls. As I said before, my vision was dramatically improved the day after surgery, even with the gas bubble obscuring part of the visual field. My first eye done, my distance vision eye, is now perfectly clear. With this second eye, my near vision eye, I am left with what looks like a small tissue fragment, sometimes visible and moving when it is, appearing translucent and looking a bit like part of a gossamer dragonfly wing and sometimes appearing as a dark spot. I am told this may disappear in time and also that it is not visible to the surgeon. For me this is a minor issue and easily ignored when it appears. I am so grateful that my struggles with trying to see through the degenerating vitreous are over. It was an every minute of the day effort trying to clear my vision. And don’t even talk about driving! I wonder if the difficulty in getting this diagnosed and treated is that it relies on subjective data, patient reporting. And when we repeatedly complain and get frustrated trying to explain the problems we’re experiencing, we can tend to be thought of as a difficult and maybe even emotional patient. I think ophthalmologists need to do a better job of asking questions that help them with the diagnosis because it is truly difficult to describe. I was extremely nearsighted and wonder If you are because I understand that can be a contributing factor. I will check back to see how you are doing.

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