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Vitreolysis: Ultra Q-Reflex Vitreous Laser

Ophthalmologist & LASIK Surgeon Serving Chicago, Lombard & Naperville Areas Of Illinois

Floating shadows that appear in your field of vision can be a nuisance. This condition can also negatively affect your vision. Fortunately, Foulkes Vision is one of the only practices in the Chicago area now offering a solution for patients experiencing “floaters.” It’s called laser vitreolysis and uses our new Ultra Q Reflex Vitreous Laser.

Dr. Richard B. Foulkes has the experience and knowledge to help restore your vision. If you are in the Chicago area and would like to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Foulkes, give our office a call at 630-724-1400 to schedule your consultation.

What Are “Floaters”?

Seeing floaters, a condition known as myodesopsia, is considered harmless and benign. Floaters are clumps that have formed within the gel-like substance in the eye called the vitreous humor. These clumps cast shadows causing you to see floating debris across your vision.

The floaters are most often described as cobwebs or specks that drift in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands or squiggly lines.

Common types of floaters may include:

  • Fibrous Strand Floater: This type is most common in young people. This thin floater can appear as multiple dots or string-like cobwebs. Depending on size and where it’s located within the eye, it may be treatable with vitreolysis.
  • Diffuse Floater: This is a cloud-like floater most often associated with the natural aging process. It can be treated with vitreolysis, but may require additional treatment to restore your vision.
  • Weiss Ring Floater: This is a ring shaped floater that is large and usually located safely away from the lens and the retina, making it safe and easy to treat through vitreolysis.

Floaters are common within the general population, estimated by one study at 76%. Generally, they remain dormant within your eye, suspended within the fluid.

How Does Laser Vitreolysis Help?

Laser vitreolysis is a helpful procedure that addresses the floating debris within your eye. Dr. Foulkes will perform the in-office treatment utilizing the Ultra-Q Reflex Laser.

This advanced technology uses energy to liquefy the floaters. It is important to understand that the laser does not break up the floaters into smaller pieces. Instead, it converts the clumps into molecules of gas, which are then reabsorbed by the eye. This procedure is very precise, and can eliminate floaters safely, without damaging the lens or retina.

Before entertaining treatment, Dr. Foulkes insists on doing wide field photography using the latest technology called Optos to determine that you are safe to get vitreolysis. As flashes and floaters can be associated with increased risk of retinal detachment, a thorough retinal exam should precede treatment to look for holes or evidence that you may need retina treatment first. Vitreous stands can attach to the retina and liquefying them may reduce your risk. This treatment has been studied extensively and does not appear to increase your lifetime risk of retinal detachment.

What to Expect

In order to get laser vitreolysis, you must first get a comprehensive eye exam to fully determine your eligibility for this procedure. Dr. Foulkes offers eye exams for adults, and can discuss your optic care options during your appointment.

If you are a good candidate for the procedure, Dr. Foulkes and his experienced staff will then schedule your laser vitreolysis appointment. The procedure can take anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes.

Because this is an outpatient procedure, after you are finished with your laser vitreolysis treatment, you can return home to rest. You are able to drive yourself home on the day of the procedure.

On average, most patients can expect 60-90% improvement in the number of floaters following the first laser treatment. However, the majority of patients will need to undergo two to three additional treatments to achieve the best results.

How Foulkes Vision Can Help

Dr. Foulkes understands that every patient is unique, and therefore every eye is different. To determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure, Dr. Foulkes will meet with you in person to discuss your needs and goals.

Our experienced staff can help you restore your vision. If you are in the Chicago area and would like to discuss your vision restoration options, give our office a call at 630-724-1400 to schedule your consultation. We are proud to help patients within the Lombard and surrounding Illinois communities.

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