Floaters Only Vitrectomy

Posted by susan2018 @susan2018, Mar 6, 2019

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?

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@susan2018

How long has it been since your surgery? It took awhile but my one piece of debris in one eye has settled. It does occasionally pop up and is irritating but then disappears again. It is a good reminder of his bad things were before the surgery.

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I had mine the middle of March. I went today for a followup and we talked about doing the other eye in June.

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Two months out and I gotta say I am so glad I did this. Amazing. I knew I had a lot of floaters but had always been told I had to live with it. I am 60 yrs old and had a few major falls in the last 10 years. (8 feet off a cliff!) All of that contributed. If you can get yours fixed, do it. I have clear vision. Bubble disappeared within a two week period and seeing very clear!

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@moo1

Susan, et al. My ophthalmologist called my floaters, “vitreous debris”. He stressed that surgery is dangerous and he didn’t recommend it! It never dropped
like he thought it would. The football shaped debris never dropped and blocks two letters of every word I read. It’s in the left eye and so annoying! I don’t
know how the “bubble” works to eradicate the vitreous debris. Is there any other method to remove or move it or cause it to drop below my sight line. Moo1

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If I understand you correctly, you are having issues with a significant floater—that you have not had any surgery, i.e. Vitrectomy, and that your ophthalmologist has discouraged such surgery. My first question would be how long you’ve had this? If you’ve given it time to settle down and it is still affecting your vision, if I were you, I would request a referral to a VitreoRetinal specialist. It took a long time for my ophthalmologist to recognize what I was complaining about. In fact it wasn’t until I saw his partner that I got a referral to a specialist. She told me they couldn’t help me but would refer me. Your local ophthalmologist doesn’t have to be the end of the line for you.

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@susan2018

If I understand you correctly, you are having issues with a significant floater—that you have not had any surgery, i.e. Vitrectomy, and that your ophthalmologist has discouraged such surgery. My first question would be how long you’ve had this? If you’ve given it time to settle down and it is still affecting your vision, if I were you, I would request a referral to a VitreoRetinal specialist. It took a long time for my ophthalmologist to recognize what I was complaining about. In fact it wasn’t until I saw his partner that I got a referral to a specialist. She told me they couldn’t help me but would refer me. Your local ophthalmologist doesn’t have to be the end of the line for you.

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Susan, thanks for your reply! I’ve had the clump of “floater debris” for several years. It never dropped from it’s current location.
I did have cataract surgery 3 or 4 years ago with success, but the floater didn’t budge My surgeon had hoped it would drop,
But sadly it didn't! Thanks for the advice from you and others who replied! After this Covid19 Crisis, I will pursue the right path
to get help!
Moo1

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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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Go get another opinion, my cataract surgeon referred me but some doctors don't listen or really look!

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@dragl1959

Two months out and I gotta say I am so glad I did this. Amazing. I knew I had a lot of floaters but had always been told I had to live with it. I am 60 yrs old and had a few major falls in the last 10 years. (8 feet off a cliff!) All of that contributed. If you can get yours fixed, do it. I have clear vision. Bubble disappeared within a two week period and seeing very clear!

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Like to know more. Doc's in Albuquerque didnt have any treatment for me.

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Ophthalmologists can’t see what we see. They like hard evidence of an issue, it’s hard for them to fully rely on subjective data, the patient report. My thought anyway. And even harder to justify surgery for something they can’t document by test or scan or observation. But my vitreoretinal specialist understood. Of course there are risks to surgery, for example, retinal detachment. Hence the need to trust your surgeon.

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I had a retinal tear In my left eye (position of the tear was at “10 o’clock“) in August 2018 and had flood of new floaters and it was very scary. At the time, I had retinal surgeon do successful cryosurgery with pneumatic bubble BUT severe floaters remained prevalent for over 3 months following surgery. Suddenly, at about 3 months post surgery, the floaters became much more tolerable and I could function fairly normally (but I could “find them” if I really looked for them). Unfortunately, that retinal cryosurgery quickened the development of a cataract in that left eye and I had to have a traditional catarectomy done on the eye in December 2019. Then, I had to have cryosurgery about 2 weeks later because of ANOTHER retinal tear in same place.

Since the cataract surgery and retinal surgery of Dec 2019, the floaters are MUCH WORSE. There is a “flag” that contains about 150 floater dots that continually passes through my field of vision. There are a number of other floaters like squiggly lines and small circles/dots and It’s especially hard to be confident driving and difficult seeing in general. Surgeons are willing, but not too enthused, to do the vitrectomy. I wonder if having the 2 retinal tears makes me a much higher risk?? What I read seems to tell me it’s only a little less successful for anyone who has had previous retinal tears (like 93 percent successful vs 95 percent). In summary, this “debris” in my vision is a mess and miserable but I sure don’t want the procedure to make it worse! Any insight is very much appreciated.

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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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Thank you for writing about this as I'm experiencing terrible floaters and blurring in one eye so only one eye is functioning. I've been to eye doctors 3times and Monday a different eye doctor but keep getting put off…told nothing to do. Eye surgery is discouraged. What do you suggest I should inquire or questions to ask? Thanks for your input.

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@marjou

Thank you for writing about this as I'm experiencing terrible floaters and blurring in one eye so only one eye is functioning. I've been to eye doctors 3times and Monday a different eye doctor but keep getting put off…told nothing to do. Eye surgery is discouraged. What do you suggest I should inquire or questions to ask? Thanks for your input.

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The first and most important thing is to get to a retinal specialist/surgeon. I was referred to one but had to travel to a large city. Even they can’t see what you’re seeing but should understand and certainly have the ability to safely perform the vitrectomy. As with any surgery, understand the risks (in this case a retinal detachment) but make sure the physician also understands your desperation. I had little luck getting my optometrist or ophthalmologist to understand my problem because I didn’t understand myself what was wrong and probably didn’t do a good job of explaining what I was experiencing. I’m not sure sure it’s helpful to just complain of floaters because what I saw was unlike any floaters I had had before. Like you, my vision was continually being obscured by moving clouds of debris from the deteriorating vitreous. It started in one eye but eventually involved both eyes. I think there was a time surgery was discouraged because the need depended on a patient’s subjective report of the problem as well as the accompanying potential risk of a detachment, perhaps especially more so in the past. I almost gave up finding help but am so glad I didn’t.

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@susan2018

The first and most important thing is to get to a retinal specialist/surgeon. I was referred to one but had to travel to a large city. Even they can’t see what you’re seeing but should understand and certainly have the ability to safely perform the vitrectomy. As with any surgery, understand the risks (in this case a retinal detachment) but make sure the physician also understands your desperation. I had little luck getting my optometrist or ophthalmologist to understand my problem because I didn’t understand myself what was wrong and probably didn’t do a good job of explaining what I was experiencing. I’m not sure sure it’s helpful to just complain of floaters because what I saw was unlike any floaters I had had before. Like you, my vision was continually being obscured by moving clouds of debris from the deteriorating vitreous. It started in one eye but eventually involved both eyes. I think there was a time surgery was discouraged because the need depended on a patient’s subjective report of the problem as well as the accompanying potential risk of a detachment, perhaps especially more so in the past. I almost gave up finding help but am so glad I didn’t.

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@susan2018 Thanks for your response as it is very helpful. I need to insist on getting referral to retinal specialist.

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@susan2018

The first and most important thing is to get to a retinal specialist/surgeon. I was referred to one but had to travel to a large city. Even they can’t see what you’re seeing but should understand and certainly have the ability to safely perform the vitrectomy. As with any surgery, understand the risks (in this case a retinal detachment) but make sure the physician also understands your desperation. I had little luck getting my optometrist or ophthalmologist to understand my problem because I didn’t understand myself what was wrong and probably didn’t do a good job of explaining what I was experiencing. I’m not sure sure it’s helpful to just complain of floaters because what I saw was unlike any floaters I had had before. Like you, my vision was continually being obscured by moving clouds of debris from the deteriorating vitreous. It started in one eye but eventually involved both eyes. I think there was a time surgery was discouraged because the need depended on a patient’s subjective report of the problem as well as the accompanying potential risk of a detachment, perhaps especially more so in the past. I almost gave up finding help but am so glad I didn’t.

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Hi Susan, Thanks for relating your experiences as I’ve gone through something similar. I’m almost 62 and nearsighted all my life. My floaters in both eyes are maddening and obstructive. Night driving has gotten to be “white knuckled”. I love watching hockey but have trouble finding the puck, or finding the RIGHT puck (eyes watch a floater rather than puck).

Anyway, have you had the vitrectomy or are you still considering it? I have been checking out Dr Jerry Sebag at online Presentations he did at Ophthalmology conferences on Youtube at SOE 2017 and 2019 and otherwise. He seems to be the quintessential expert on the vitreous and floaters. He has defined Vision Degrading Myodesopsia as an actual, clinically measurable DISEASE. He does Contrast Sensitivity and quantitative ultrasound testing (and other testing/questionnaires) to determine how significantly the floaters are affecting a person’s vision and, thereby, quality of life.

Dr Sebag’s practice is in California and I am in Pennsylvania. However, he was kind enough to recommend a retinal surgeon in my area. At this point, I’m STILL considering the surgery and I’m glad that I am, somewhat, more knowledgeable for my discussion with the surgeon.

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