The posterior 2/3 of the eye is filled with a jelly like substance called the vitreous.
With age the collagen matrix that holds the gel in place degenerates, turning the vitreous from a solid jelly into a mélange of pocket of water and collagen strands. If enough collagen is lost the vitreous can collapse acutely, causing what is referred to as a posterior vitreous detachment.
All these changes can cause FLOATERS. Floaters can cause visual disturbances, appearing as a circle, semi-circle, glob, spider web, cob web, strands or just as a vague film covering the vision.
Typically these changes dissipate with time as the floater relocates from one part of the vitreous to another. However there are patients where the floater is visually troubling. In these situations, laser vitreolysis is offered.
Laser Vitreolysis is a procedure by which a YAG laser is used to dissolve the floater. If the floater is small it is treated directly by the laser and using plasma energy the floater in converted form a solid into gas form, where it is absorbed into the eye.
Larger Floaters are more difficult to treat and often require 2 or more sessions. In these cases, sometime the floater is removed by cutting the strands of vitreous holding the gel in place. The floater then drops lower into the vitreous where it is less visible.