Treating floaters 

In most cases, floaters don't cause significant problems and don't require treatment.

Eye drops or similar types of medication aren't effective and won't make floaters disappear.

After a while, your brain may learn to ignore floaters and you may not notice them.

Monitoring your condition

If you have floaters, your optician may ask you to return for a follow-up appointment two to six months after your symptoms begin, to check that your retina is stable. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of cells that line the inside of the back of your eye.

If your vision is unaffected and your floaters aren't getting any worse, you may be advised to have an eye appointment every one to two years. However, if your symptoms worsen at any time, you should seek immediate advice from either your GP or optician.

Vitrectomy

A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the vitreous humour in your eye, along with any floating debris, and replace it with a saline (salty) solution.

A vitrectomy may be recommended as a possible treatment option if you have floaters that don't improve over time, or if they significantly affect your vision. However, vitrectomies are rarely carried out due to risks associated with eye surgery, and the procedure may not be available on the NHS.

Before having a vitrectomy, your eye will be numbed with a local anaesthetic. During the procedure, the vitreous humour will be removed from the vitreous body of your eye and replaced with saline solution.

As the vitreous humour is mostly made up of water, you won't notice any difference to your vision after having a vitrectomy. However, possible complications may include:


Laser treatment for floaters

Some clinics now offer treatment where a laser is aimed at floaters to break them up or move them towards the edge of your field of vision.

It's thought this may be a simpler and safer alternative to vitrectomy for persistent floaters. However, there hasn't been much in-depth research into the treatment, and its safety and effectiveness is still uncertain. 

The treatment is rarely used in the UK and isn't widely available. It's also very unlikely to be funded on the NHS, so you’ll usually have to pay for it privately.

If you want to try private laser treatment, make sure you know the risks and uncertainties before going ahead.

Page last reviewed: 21/11/2014

Next review due: 21/11/2016