Has Anyone Had Yag Laser Treatment of Floaters?

claudia51September 20, 2006

There appear to be two docs in the country using this technique to obliterate serious eye floaters. I emailed the doc in VA and he responded, saying that dry eyes were not a contraindication to the procedure.

I can't get away from the question - if this is so good, how come, for the most part, nobody seems to have heard of it? It looks good on the surface, but I'd surely love to know much more about it than I'm able to find. All info seems to come either from this doc's website or from the doctor's website in Florida who is using a similar procedure.

The VA doc's credentials seem impeccable. It's expensive - looks like about $3,000+ for treatment of both eyes.

Anybody know anything?

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Sorry, I haven't heard about it. I have an eye appointment in a couple weeks. My doc is very good. I'll try to remember to ask him what he knows of this procedure, and get back with you.
I'd be scared to have it, since it (like you said), isn't common yet.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 10:03PM
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I just had a 6 week follow up visit with my eye doc for floaters on Sat. Been going every 6 weeks since the end of June with a sudden onset of the floaters. Prior to that I had never seen one in my life and I turned 55 Last March.

Anyway the floaters started about 3 weeks after I had spinal surgery and the eye doc told me it was a common "side affect, complication" of spinal surgery because of the position one is put in during the surgery and the strain on the eye during the operation.

I have been using this eye doctor for over 25 years, he's well experienced and his specialty is retina. He also has been a professor of opthamology at Harvard Medical School for close to 20 years.

My floaters are sort of what I call spidery and sometimes a blur spot. I find it very annoying at times, but it has improved and found that if you drink a lot of fluid that isn't a diuretic, the floaters improve greatly. So, my floaters talk to me and when it is more annoying, I increase the fluid and find they are far less noticable by the end of the day. The doc said this was correct and it is very important to stay very hydrated at all times.

Anyway, I asked him about the types of surgery for floaters, NG laser and virectomy. His information is below.

Is considered major surgery and is only rarely done because it has a high rate of complications. It is a total removal of the fluid that protects the retina, but does destroy all the floaters. The complications are relatively high and include cataracts, retinal detachment and bleeding into the eye. In over 25 years of practice, he has never done the surgery. He feels it is too high a risk.

He showed me an opthamology journal article published within the past 6 months with the following information

Can only be done on a limited number of people
1/3 of patients helped, but improvement was only considered moderate by the patients
patients considered improvement only 50%
no patient had complete resolution of the floaters and most had floaters return to the prior state they where in prior to NG laser within 1-2 years
Led to worsening in 7.7% in patients

complication rate of .50%-4.16% with retinal detachment.

I asked him why there where only 2 doctors in the US using the NG laser surgery and he said that with the results listed above, it is not a beneficial procedure to use.

He also pointed out that when you go to the 2 docs websites and carefully read the info, you find lots of praise and testimonials, but are they from real people or just words put on the web site. One never really knows. Testimonials are a dime a dozen, what about the ones that aren't a success, they are never heard from. One of the docs actually has, what I would call, insulting remarks about other eye doctors when he says that most eye doctors are not aware of or interested in the procedure. Not complimentary remarks about ones colleages.

I checked out both websites myself and though they look and sound impressive, they reminded me of the sites for fancy surgery for spinal stenosis. When I did some investigating about those 2 places, one of which was in Florida, I found lots of bad info on both of them, lots of complications, and insurance companies don't pay for the surgery.

As far as my eye doc knew, there aren't any insurance companies that pay for this NG laser surgery. That would leave me with lots of suspicion about the docs and the procedure.

I'm learning to live with my floaters and they are getting better. I'd try hydrating with more fluid as well and see if that helps.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 3:15AM
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thanks littleone for posting. I've put a response on the other floater thread here. (I don't know how to copy).

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 2:28PM
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Thanks for sharing your info Littleone,
Isn't it sad that we just can't trust what people say about something (like the eye surgery in florida).
I'm bothered by tons of floaters, but I would be soooooo scared to have anything done for it, unless it had been a long-established and safe procedure.
I didn't know that about hydration. That's good to know. Also, a really reputable opthamologist that I saw in the past told me that sometimes, the strands of floaters become some heavy, that they sink out of your line of vision............and that's about all you can hope for.
Mine seem worse at times, and I can't explain why.......but maybe it's the hydration issue?
They sure are a pain in the butt, but there are LOTS worse vision problems, right?
I'm a bird watcher, and star gazer, and it makes it challenging to have all that other stuff in my vision, but I've adjusted.
My eye doc says that if they increase drastically at once, that that's significant and to call him, otherwise......just try to adjust. Sometimes I just sit there and watch them for awhile!
I wonder if some of us are just more sensitive to those things. Are you ever aware of blood cells in your vision? I can sometimes even see blood cells coursing through what must be a capillary or something. I also get very strange visual images at night in the dark. They used to scare me, but now I just enjoy looking at them! Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 4:15PM
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Catherinet, It is sad that we have to be so careful on line all the time.
I was suspicious of both of these docs after reading the web sites. They toot their horns way to much for my liking.
One would thing that if this procedure is so wonderful, far more opthamologists would be using it, and using it all the time. The costs are exhorbitant and though they claim that ins. pays for it, if you check with your ins. you will find that they don't. I checked with mine, just for fun today, and they don't pay for it with MA ins. I have BC/BS and have not restrictions on where I go for medical care in state or out, but it has to be a covered service. They told me that the Yag/NG laser is not only not covered by MA BC/BS, but no BC/BS anywhere in the country pays for it, and as far as they know, no ins does. This really peaked me, so called my sister, who lives in Florida and has BC/BS down there. No coverage, she checked with my niece who has different coverage and no coverage. My son in Kentucky doesn't have the coverage. By the time I was through checking with people I know in MA and other states, couldn't find an insurance co. that pays for it. Red flags again, as this isn't a life saving operation.

One of the docs bragged that he new only 2 docs in the country that did this, and to me that was a red flag too.

So unlike my spinal surgeon , who used a relatvely new method in doing my surgery. It was being done in Michigan only 5 years ago, by one doctor. This doc waited to have it perfected, then published the info in a medical journal with a request for other spinal surgeons to contact him for further info and offered to teach it.
This doc divided the country into 25 sections and taught one leading spinal surgeon in each section the new procedure. He chose leading spinal surgeons who chould stay with him for 6 months to be perfected in it. My doc was the first doc to go from the new enland section. He has been doing this procedure for 4 years and is the leading teacher in the New England area for this new technique, which saves so much of the vertebrae in the spine instead of removing it.

When you compare this attitude to these docs, you know for sure that something is really fishy with this laser stuff for floaters.

I have always been of the thought that G-d gave us 2 eyes for a reason. If we lose the vision in one, we still have an eye to see with. Vision may not be perfect, but one can still see. Also of the thought that surgery is done as a last resort, and experimental and wacky idea surgery is only done when there is nothing else that can be done.

Glasses are fine for me. Not having anything cut in my eye because of vanity not wanting to weaar glasses. I like being able to see, same for this laser stuff too.

My doc told me the same thing about the floaters and also said that many times they can go back into the viscous fluid, which some of mine have done.

The hydration thing really does work. I found myself with worse floaters early today and started pushing the fluids this afternoon and sure enough, they are better tonight.

I had some of the vision things at night to and the extra fluids really made a difference. My eye is bloodshot some of the time and the doc told me to use refresh endura drops to help keep the eye moist, especially in the winter with the heat on. that has helped too. Give that a try and see if makes any difference. I use it 2-4 times a day and it really helps. it's not cheap, $15.99 a box. But it has individual doses in it. One thing if you start to use it, you won't use the full dose container at once, just one drop in the eye that needs it. Put the cap back on it and use the rest during the day. don't hold it overnight though. the company wants you to use it just once but the doc says no reason not to use up each individual container.
Best place to buy it is Walgreens. If you buy it in quantity, I buy 10 boxes at a time, they will give you a discount on the price. Brought it down to $12.99 a box when I bought to boxes at once.

Good luck and let me know if you try the refresh endura and it helps or not.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 12:43AM
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Littleone, thanks for your post above. My opthamologist is supposed to be one of the best and he told me right away when I first got the floater that there is no treatment for it, that I just have to learn to live with it. My problem is that the floater is large and it is in the "good" eye, the one that basically does all my seeing. (The doc. said the other weak eye is not correctible with surgery due to dry eyes syndrome). So I find that the floater is really a handicap and slows me down, considerably.

What is the difference between the endura and Restasis for dry eyes? Is endura available without a RX? There is also a new treatment for dry eyes called "Freshkote". (I've not tried it, am using Restasis now).

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 10:52AM
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There are more than two doctors using the Nd:YAG laser for vitreolysis. The procedure has been around for over 15 yrs in the States and longer in Europe.I am one of the doctors doing it. The procedure can be much more successful than in the published studies. They tend to use very low energies and very light treatments. If the floater is treatable most of my patients experience a 60-95% improvement (clearance of the floaters). I have gradually dedicated more and more of my practice to the treatment because it works. It is not easy to do, and and your right, insurance doesn't recognize the procedure as we do it. It is very time consuming and laborious and the fees necessarily reflect the time needed to treat. I will often spend 30-45 minutes per session treating. I am starting to do unscripted casual interviews with patients after or during their treatments and they can tell their story. If you have floaters and want to learn more... www.GotFloaters.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Orange Coast Laser Vision Center - Irvine, CA

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 2:25AM
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I had terrible floaters, not just a few spider webs but sheets of them. The floater covered words and street signs. The floaters became a handicap. So last week I went to Fort myers Florida to see Dr Scott Geller he dilated my eyes used a yag laser. I had 4 daily treatments and I can tell you I can now see 90 percent better. Yes, I still have few, but they are not affecting my vision in masses. No it does not hurt, my eyes did feel uncomfortable and dry for 3 hrs. But I had instant results! yes I was unsure and scared but Floater jelly that looked like fish eggs made me blind. Dr Geller has had 20 years experience, the procedure works. It is not cheap and no insurance covers it. All my doctors told me to live with it! Don't listen to them. Our vision is priceless!!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 8:47PM
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