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Eye Floaters - YAG laser treatment scheduled for Tuesday!


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Greetings.  I have just reached the 60% dose reduction mark in my clonazepam taper.  I have been able to manage a 10% reduction from my original .5mg dose each week.  Although it has been difficult, when I became bored or needed something to focus on I could always turn to my computer.  In fact I probably spend at least 4-5 hours on it everyday.  A couple weeks ago I developed some really bothersome floaters in my right eye.  Now I can't stand to work on the computer for any length of time because I continually have blurred vision and headaches as the floaters cross my line of vision.  I also enjoyed walking my dog first thing every morning in the bright sunshine.  Now every morning I begin my day with anxiety as the bright sunshine makes these floaters very visible.  

 

I had a similar problem in 2002 and had to fly to Virginia to one of the only two doctors in the country that treat eye floaters with a YAG laser.  They are able to focus on the floaters and vaporize them with multiple laser blasts.  I was very pleased with my treatment on my left eye back in 2002 and after suffering with these floaters for more than a year I was finally able get them obliterated.

 

I was very bummed out when these new floaters appeared in my right eye.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to fly across the country for treatment (I live in Southern California).  Did some online research this weekend and learned that a third doctor has made a practice specializing exclusively on treating eye floaters with the YAG laser and he is located twenty minutes from my home.  I have scheduled an appointment with him this Tuesday and if all goes well will have my first round of laser treatments that day.  Usually takes two days worth of treatments so I could be rid of one cause of anxiety in my life this week.  Since I have no control over anything in my life right now it is refreshing to know that this may be I thing I can take care of.

 

Wish me luck.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Kelly

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Hey Kelly

 

Glad to see you are doing well. Good luck on this treatment. I hope everything goes well with this treatment.

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Thanks Travuz,

 

I know this is probably not the best time to have a medical procedure like this but if it will make my life more livable right now it sure would make things easier.  It is painless and only takes about an hour each time.  No drugs, no side effects. 

 

Kelly

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Kelly

 

I can honestly tell you, I would not even hesitate to do the same, if I were in your shoes. I once cut my hair all off for the simple fact that it was so long, it kept getting in my eyes. I can't even imagine having floaters swimming around and getting in the way of me enjoying a sunny day with a pet or stopping me from getting on my puter. Why suffer more than you have to, if there is a safe way to remove those hassles and it does seem that it will not affect w/d. Do what is right for you...good luck and be safe. I really hope everything goes well for you.

 

 

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Hi Kelly:

 

That's really interesting.  Any Optometrist or Opthamologist I have asked has told me there is nothing I can do about my floaters.  It's nice to know there are few who will work on this problem.  What explanation have you gotten on what floaters are?  I keep getting different answers from the professionals I ask.  Good luck with the procedure.  I would like to hear more about it.

 

Draftsman

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Draftsman,

 

Treatment of floaters is limited right now to three doctors in the U.S.  The cost of the laser is extremely high.  One doctor in Florida has been doing it for about 15 years and has treated over 3,000 patients.  The one I went to in 2002 is in Virginia and has treated about 2,000 patients.  The newest one is in Southern California and has treated over 1,000 patients.  Here is some info from the CA doctors website.  vitreousfloatersolutions.com

 

 

VITREOUS EYE FLOATERS EXPLAINED

 

VITREOUS FLOATERS DEFINED: Any change to the normally optically transparent vitreous body that is significant enough to cast a shadow onto the sensory retina AND be noticed by the sufferer at least some of the time.

 

BENIGN VITREOUS FLOATERS: are floaters that are not related to or caused by ocular or systemic disease or abnormal pathological events such as hemorrhage or foreign material. Benign floaters are NEVER a threat to the health of the eye no matter how dense and bothersome they may be.

 

PATHOLOGICAL VITREOUS FLOATERS: are associated with abnormalities and disease of the eye or body. They may be reactive, autoimmune, hemorrhagic, metabolic, genetic, parasitic or foreign material in origin. Of these, reactive inflammation and hemorrhage are the more common.

 

Vitreous Floaters are very common and can range from barely perceptible to complete blockage of the central vision. Floaters can significantly affect the quality of vision and the quality of life for those suffering them

The most common causes or associations with the onset of vitreous floaters are AGE, MYOPIA (near-sighted), TRAUMA, and UNKNOWN. There may be molecular changes that occur which begin the process. We know that bare collagen tends to be sticky. If the Hyaluronin molecule is no longer attached or associated with it, the collagen will clump, and stick to itself squeezing water molecules out.

 

POSTERIOR VITREOUS DETACHMENTS (PVD's) are most common event that occurs in the vitreous space. The first event that occurs is thickening of the vitreous as collagen clumps as described above.

 

The water that is squeezed out collects and pools in the center of the eye. This thickening of the vitreous and pooling of fluid continues until a channel is formed which connects the pooled fluid with the back space between the vitreous and the retina.

 

As this fluid shifts, the pooled fluid space collapses and the posterior vitreous pulls away from the retina. This separation can be partial or complete. There is a thickened ring of vitreous where the optic nerve enters the eye. This ring, when suspended in the vitreous, casts a distinct shadow and is known as a Weiss Ring floater. It may be a ring, partial ring, or just an amorphous clump but it is typically denser and more fibrous than other types of eye floaters.

 

Approximately 25% of 60 year olds and 65% of 80 year olds have had a posterior vitreous detachment. PVDs can occur at a younger age, but the incidence is not well known

 

DEVELOPMENT OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EYE FLOATERS:

Vitreous floaters are random condensations of the vitreous and come in several varieties or in combinations. They can be small and distinct, stringy like cobwebs, diffusely hazy, or soft and cloudlike. Typically, there is a combination of types of floaters present.

 

PSYCHOSOCIAL IMPACT OF EYE FLOATERS:

No discussion of eye floaters would be complete with a discussion of the impact of floaters on the psychological health of the floater sufferer. Most of our patients are highly functional with excellent measured vision. Most would be able to pass any vision and eye health examination as their vision chart acuity, peripheral vision, color vision, contrast sensitivity, eye pressures, and anatomical structures are all normal. What isn't tested is the subjective awareness and annoyance that eye floaters cause.

 

Most people with floaters will pass any eye exam as normal and healthy. What isn't ever tested for or recognized is annoyance, anxiety, depression, and sometimes despondency associated with eye floaters.

We have seen diffuse and seemingly significant floater complexes that didn't seem to bother the patient much, and we have seen people put their life " on hold" for the most microscopic of floater debris that is undetectable by most examination techniques. Dr. Johnson has noted that "Floaters are seen through the filter of the sufferers personality". Different personalities respond to the eye floaters differently and it is a travesty and a shame that our profession has continued to ignore, or flippantly disregard floaters as nothing to worry about.

 

Most eye doctor's platitudes of reassurance such as "It will go away over time", "Your brain will learn to ignore it", or "It will eventually drop out of the way" help only in the short term to get the patient out the door. What about when they don't go away, or the patient can not simply ignore them?

 

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[2c...]

thanks for asking Kelly.

Depression really bad.  hanging in. 

good luck again. 

 

Thanks Mamie,

 

How is your titration coming?  Hope you are hanging in there.

 

Kelly

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[b2...]

I have eye floaters bad in one eye, looks like spiderwebs and little squirmy things  :D

Mine was caused by extreme Nearsightedness along with horrible Astigmatism.

 

I was told that the gel in my eye broke down.

 

So, mine isn't from withdrawal.

 

I had them prior to withdrawal, but I do believe they are a bit worse now.

 

Anyway, thanks for the info.

 

S#

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It's odd because I have had them for years and I know their shapes.  Same for me, it seems like I have noticed them more since withdrawals.  Same old floaters, but I seemed to notice them more.  One floater has a more dense section in it.  When this crosses a certain area of in my eye I tend to get a flash of light.  Weird stuff.

 

Draftsman

 

 

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[b2...]
When this crosses a certain area of in my eye I tend to get a flash of light.

 

Yes I get that as well.

 

There is a surgery where they can remove the gel from the eye, and then inject silicone in it, as the gel rebuilds, the silicone will leak.  :o

 

Not for me unless they get so bad.. I am blind.

 

 

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Interesting. I never had floaters before, just 1 floater in one eye prior to benzos. While tapering off benzos I developed tons and tons of floaters in both eyes and I am almost a year off benzos and still have all the floaters. I wonder if they will go away. They are annoying for sure. I definitely think mine were related to benzo use because they developed when I was tapering off and I never had them like this before.
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Had my laser surgery on the floaters in my right eye today.  I was in and out in a total of 2 hours.  All went well.  Now that the dilation is wearing off I see that almost all the floaters in my eye are gone.  My treatment includes a follow up session so I will probably go back in a week and have him try to get the remaining fragments.  I feel like such a weight has been lifted.  One less source of anxiety.

 

Fairly simple procedure.  Eyes get dilated and examined.  If overall eye health looks good then you just sit up against the laser and the doctor puts a lens over the eye and begins firing at floater material inside the eye.  He took about 600 blasts and did a good job of clearing them up.

 

Cantwaittobebetter,

 

I developed a very troublesome floater after lasik surgery 10 years ago and suffered for almost a year before I had it taken care of.  The eye doctors always say you will get used to them or they will settle after a while.  I am not sure about either of those outcomes.  Maybe I am just a little bit obsessive about my vision.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Kelly

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  • 4 weeks later...

So glad to hear all went great with your surgery!!! That is excellent news. Sounds like it was easy and no pain, that is great. 

 

Thanks for the info Kelly. I will have to go see my eye Dr and see what he thinks and suggests. So far they don't really bother me, they are just an annoyance and I mostly see them when I am outside and it is sunny out.

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I too have floaters. Mine are quite severe too. I never had them before benzos, ever! I seriously doubt there is anything wrong with your eyes. Never hurts to get it checked though.
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