Floaters are denser portions of vitreous, similar to clots. They lead to ‘moving shadows’ that sooner or later will interfere with sight in the majority of people at some stage in their lives.
In some cases, there will be a high number of denser portions and they can result permanent moving dark spots in the patient’s field of vision.
When these dark spots interfere with reading or routine everyday activities, the eye specialist may decide to intervene with a laser or remove them surgically.
How the floaters form
Severe myopia is one of the most frequent factors responsible for the formation of floaters.
They may also affect people who have had ocular problems in the past or people who were previously operated for a retinal detachment and treated with buckling or cerclage, previous episodes of vitreal hemorrhage, previous eye infections or inflammations, such as chronic uveitis.
It rarely happens that the normal vitreal ageing process leads to the formation of mobile bodies that are large enough and compact enough to interfere with sight.
It is not feasible to suggest surgery to every patient affected by mobile vitreal bodies. It should be reserved for patients whose sight is severely compromised by the condition. In this case a vitrectomy is the elective treatment; in other cases, a laser treatment should be sufficient.
Postoperative clinical progression is normally rapid and sight is restored in a period of time compatible with the inflammation caused by the procedure itself.