If you don’t have eye floaters, it’s hard to understand what they are. If you do, they’re equally difficult to explain. Today, more people have floaters in their eyes than you might think.
An NCBI study found that 24% of people aged 50 to 59 experienced eye floaters, which rose to 87% for people aged 80 to 89. But these ghostly particles, which always seem to be out of sight, can affect anyone, at any age.
Floaters themselves can go from harmless to distracting – sometimes so distracting that people seek laser treatment (called viterolysis) or traditional surgery (a vitrectomy) to remove or reduce them.
What’s more, eye floaters treatment is especially important when the condition is symptomatic of a bigger problem – one which could lead to loss of vision entirely.
So, whether you’re interested in removing these irritating specks for health reasons or just for peace of mind, read on for our complete guide to eye floaters treatment and costs.
☛ If you’d like to understand how much treating eye floaters will cost your personally, use our simple tool here to find a top-rated floaters eye surgery clinic near you.
In this article you will learn about:
01 | Floaters Eye Treatment Costs
02 | Floaters Eye Treatment Explained
03 | YAG Vitreolysis
04 | What’s the Difference Between YAG and YAG Vitreolysis?
05 | Vitrectomy
06 | Eye Floaters FAQs
07 | Receive a Free Tailored Quote
1. Eye Floaters Laser Treatment Cost
Laser treatment surgery for eye floaters can cost between £900 and £1,350 for YAG vitreolysis, and between £2,500 and £3,800 for a vitrectomy. The costs associated with vitreolysis will vary depending on the clinic you choose, as well as your individual eye prescription.
So, if your floaters aren’t a symptom of a more serious issue, but still a royal pain, how much will floaters eye surgery cost you personally?
Not all clinics reveal the price of YAG vitreolysis or a vitrectomy, as they will vary from person to person. To give you an estimate, however, YAG vitreolysis can cost around twice as much as general YAG surgery, and a vitrectomy can be around double that price.
This table includes the prices quoted for YAG treatment, with our estimates for YAG vitreolysis and vitrectomy surgery:
|Clinic||YAG Price Quoted (per eye)||YAG Vitreolysis Estimate (per eye)||Vitrectomy Estimate (per eye)|
|1. Optical Express Bristol||£595||£1,350||£3,808|
|2. Ultralase Bristol||£395 - £595||£900 - £1,350||£2,528 - £2,808|
|4. Fairfield Hospital||£575||£1,305||£3,680|
Remember: the above prices are only estimates. For more concrete laser eye surgery pricing, always consult an eye specialist. Our simple quote tool here will help you find one.
2. Eye Floaters Treatment Explained
There are three main types of eye floater treatment in the UK: eye drops, laser eye treatment (YAG vitreolysis), and eye surgery (vitrectomy). Of course, eye drops are the least invasive option, but more severe cases can call for surgery to cure eye floaters.
- Eye drops: Medication used two to three times a day, with varying results. The improvement to vision is never permanent with eye drops.
- YAG vitreolysis: Permanent laser eye treatment to correct floaters, with a high success rate.
- Vitrectomy: Traditional eye surgery to help cure floaters.
Minor floaters don’t usually require treatment. However, if you do notice floaters in your field of vision, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) recommends seeing an eye specialist to ensure they are not a cause for concern. According to the NHS, it’s a good idea to visit your optometrist at least once every two years.
Do I need surgery? If an eye doctor diagnoses you with retinal detachment, surgery – whether in the form of vitrectomy or vitreolysis – is crucial. Without it, you could lose your vision entirely.
You may also require surgery to remove eye floaters if:
- Your vision is significantly impaired
- The floaters aren’t improving
- The floaters are getting worse over time
- You notice white flashes
- You are experiencing loss of vision
3. YAG Vitreolysis
What is YAG vitreolysis?
YAG vitreolysis – or laser eye floater removal – is a pain-free, non-invasive procedure that aims to help patients return to normal everyday activities without floaters disturbing their vision.
How does it work? This type of YAG laser treatment for floaters uses a laser to remove the bits of debris in the middle of the eye (vitreous humour) that are causing the floaters. It converts the culprits – molecules of collagen – into gas that you can no longer see.
Am I eligible?
Your eye specialist will determine whether vitreolysis is the right treatment for you, as you will need to undergo an ophthalmic examination. But in most cases, the following will make you eligible:
- You are over the age of 45 years old
- You have large floaters with a soft border
- Your floaters have developed very quickly
Vitreolysis procedure explained
Vitreolysis is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can return home on the same day as your treatment. The procedure typically lasts between 20 minutes and one hour, and you will often need two or three treatment sessions for the best results.
The YAG vitreolysis process is as follows:
- The patient’s eye is anaesthetised.
- The laser (a microscopic beam of light) is used to create an opening in the eye.
- The floaters are vaporised by the laser beam, allowing sight to be restored.
- The patient’s eye is re-examined after a brief waiting period.
YAG vitreolysis risks and side effects
Is YAG vitreolysis safe? In an NCBI study, 75% of patients reported drastically improved sight following VAG vitreolysis, while the remaining 25% experienced moderately better sight.
What are the side effects? Most patients report some mild discomfort, redness, or blurred vision immediately following the procedure, but this is not a cause for concern.
That said, if these symptoms persist, you should contact your eye specialist as soon as possible for advice. They will be able to examine your eyes to determine what the cause of the issue is, and will recommend further treatment if necessary.
Although serious side effects from this type of vitreolysis are rare, it’s important to be aware of them. They include:
- Intraocular Pressure (IOP) Spike: This occurs from above normal eye pressure, and can lead to the onset of glaucoma (blurry vision) or even blindness if left untreated.
- Cataracts: A build-up of protein within the eye’s lens that causes your vision to become cloudy.
4. What’s the Difference Between YAG and YAG Vitreolysis?
If you’ve done any research on YAG, you might start to feel overwhelmed by the many procedures that fall under that umbrella term. Yes, these YAG procedures are all similar, and address similar problems. But YAG vitreolysis specifically helps eliminate floaters.
YAG is most commonly a follow-up laser eye treatment for patients who have previously undergone cataract surgery, and want to remove any cloudy residue tissue.
In YAG surgery, a laser creates a hole in the artificial lens implanted during the initial cataract surgery, allowing light to enter the eye and restore vision.
However, if floaters are appearing to you before you have undergone eye surgery, you’re probably interested in YAG vitreolysis. And if you’re wondering, YAG stands for “’Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet.’ Easy enough.
What is a vitrectomy?
Vitrectomy refers to the surgical removal of the colourless liquid gel in the middle of the eye, known as a vitreous humour. Removing the vitreous also boots out the floaters contained in it, thus restoring vision.
How does it work? The amount of vitreous removed from the eye will vary from patient to patient. But in general, the surgery removes only the vitreous near the back of the eye (retina), and leaves the vitreous near the lens. A sterile saline solution replaces the vitreous, and is secreted out naturally by the eye in the weeks following the procedure.
Vitrectomy procedure explained
Vitrectomy surgery is carried out on an outpatient basis, meaning that you can return home on the same day following the treatment. The procedure typically takes around 45 minutes to complete.
When undergoing vitrectomy surgery, you can expect the following:
- Like any other surgery, the eye is anesthetised and thoroughly cleaned.
- The eye is clamped open and a microscopic cut is made.
- The cut is opened with forceps, and a microscope and light are inserted.
- Excess or damaged vitreous gel (i.e. the “juice” inside your eye) is broken apart and removed.
- The surgeon fills the eye with an artificial vitreous gel replacement made of harmless silicon.
- The eye is closed, cleaned, and patched.
Vitrectomy risks and side effects
So, is it safe? According to the Amercian Society of Retina Specialists, complications are rare in vitrectomy surgery. They report a 90% success rate, with the benefits outweighing the risks.
And are there any side effects? It can take anywhere between four to six weeks for your vision to become fully clear after treatment, during which time your eyes may be swollen and sore.
However, should you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your surgeon immediately to get the appropriate medical attention:
- Eye infection
- Worsening of vision
- Bleeding in the eye
- Cataracts (or cloudy lenses)
- Glaucomas (blurred vision)
6. Eye Floaters FAQs
1. What exactly are eye floaters?
Eye floaters are visible shadows cast by small clusters of cells within the eye itself. You may only have one large floater, or lots of smaller ones. Most are not permanent, and move out of your field of vision quickly.
Floaters can take many forms, but people often describe them as:
- Long strands that resemble cobwebs (fibrous strand floaters)
- Large spots that resemble bubbles (diffuse floaters)
- Small rings (weiss ring floaters)
- Tiny black dots
People most notice floaters when looking at a white background, where they stand out. However, floaters can occur without you even realising. That’s because your brain adjusts to changes in your vision, and learns to ignore floaters.
2. Can I receive free eye floaters treatment on the NHS?
As is the case with all other surgeries that aren’t critical to your health, the NHS will generally not cover surgery to remove eye floaters for free. The NHS only funds eye treatments for conditions that, if left untreated, would lead to permanent eye damage or blindness.
If you would like an expert opinion, always consult your eye doctor. They will be able to assess your visual health, and diagnose whether you will be able to follow up with the NHS, or see a private ophthalmologist for laser treatment.
3. Are floaters in the eye dangerous?
Most floaters are harmless, and may not even disturb your vision too much. Large floaters, however, can be distracting, making everyday activities such as reading and driving a challenge.
Often, floaters appear as part of the natural ageing process of the eye, as the vitreous tissue inside the eye weakens. But they may be symptoms of larger issues such as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) and retinal tears, which are worth checking.
The main causes of eye floaters are:
- Ageing process: Floaters often occur over the age of 40, and are most common in people in their 60s and 70s. With age, the middle of the eye (vitreous humour) becomes more elastic, meaning strands of a protein (known as collagen), can become visible.
- Retinal tears: By the time you reach 50, the vitreous humour can begin to detach from the back of the eye (retina), and cause tears. If this occurs, opaque pigment cells can escape from the retina, and provoke floaters or flashes of light.
- Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD): Eye floaters are a common symptom of PVD, an age-related condition that occurs in around 75% of those aged over 65. PVD causes the collagen in the vitreous humour to thicken and clump together, producing floaters.
- Retinal detachment: This is a rare and serious condition that retinal tears can cause. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina completely disconnects from the wall at the back of the eye. When the retina is damaged, the images your brain receives from light signals are imperfect, causing floaters to appear in your vision.
Some of the less common causes of eye floaters include:
- Near-sightedness (myopia)
- Eye injury
- Inflammation of the eye
- Eye infection
If you experience any kind of floaters, it’s a good idea to visit an eye specialist. Of course, your eye floaters could be completely harmless, but it’s important to establish the cause, so you can determine whether you need any treatment.
7. Receive A Free Tailored Quote
If you think you have floaters – even those as minor as a couple of specks – it is worth visiting your eye doctor. An ophthalmologist will be able to assess your eyes, check the floaters are not symptoms of something bigger, and explain the treatment options available to you.
To book a free consultation with your nearest eye specialist, and find out exactly how much eye floaters laser treatment would cost, Lasik Eyes can help in three easy steps:
- Compare clinics: Answer three questions to be matched to the leading eye clinics in your area.
- Book a free consultation: Find out if you’re eligible for surgery over the phone, and get tested for free with an eye consultant or surgeon (worth £800).
- Receive a personalised quote: Get a clear idea of what laser eye surgery would really cost you, and decide if you would like to go ahead.