Should Lasers Be Used to Treat Eye Floaters?

August 4, 2010

I have just put online a unique look at a controversial subject, the use of the ophthalmic YAG laser to dissipate eye floaters. There are only 3 doctors in the U.S. that specialize in this technique: Dr. Scott Geller of Fort Myers, Florida; Dr. James H. Johnson of Irvine, California; and Dr. John Karickhoff of Falls Church, Virginia. I interviewed the three and present their perspectives on using lasers to eliminate bothersome “floaters”. An interesting question addressed in the interviews is why more ophthalmologists are not using this technique.

Some quick introductory comments for patients: eye floaters are tiny spots, specks, flecks and “cobwebs” that drift aimlessly around in your field of vision. They typically appear when tiny pieces of the eye’s gel-like vitreous break loose within the anterior portion of the eye. While annoying, ordinary eye floaters and spots are very common and usually aren’t cause for alarm in the sense that they are not typically a threat to the overall health of the eye. However, less commonly, floaters may be caused by more serious conditions such as retinal tears or hemorrhages, inflammatory conditions, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and infections. Accordingly, the onset of floaters should be promptly evaluated by an eye care professional to rule out such serious causes.

With that, to read my article on the use of the ophthalmic YAG laser to eliminate floaters, please go to:

I hope you enjoy this treatise, and invite comments on the subject on this blog.




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41 Responses to “Should Lasers Be Used to Treat Eye Floaters?”

  • Laser Vitreolysis Update: Ellex launches a “doctor finder” to find docs using its laser to treat floaters.

    My article about the use of lasers to treat floaters, written five year ago, remains the most widely read piece on my blog. I frequently am asked if I have updated the list of doctors who now use lasers to treat floaters – in addition to the three I profiled in my U.S. writeup (Using Lasers to Treat Vitreous Floaters: Laser Vitreolysis) and the six doctors in the UK/Europe piece (Using Lasers to Treat Vitreous Floaters: Laser Vitreolysis in the UK and Europe).

    I took notice when Ellex Medical announced a new YAG laser specifically for treating floaters in the fall of 2012, and about six months later, I decided to request a list of doctors who have obtained the laser, and were now treating patients’ floaters. Better than a list, Ellex decided, to respond to my request, by building an app to locate doctors using their laser and put it on their website. That app is now active and is applicable to doctors worldwide using the new Ultra Q Reflex YAG laser to treat floaters. As of June 30, 2015, there were 58 physicians listed worldwide using this laser. (I expect by now – March 2016 – that are many more).

    To read more about the laser and use the app to find a doc doing the procedure, see my update:

    Irv Arons