People sometimes complain that following laser eye surgery they are more aware of floaters but is there really a connection between the two? It is probably best to first explain what floaters are before we address this question:
What are floaters?
Floaters are tiny particles that are suspended in the Vitreous humour in the very centre of your eye. The vitreous humour makes up the majority of your eye and is effectively a thick gel that helps keep the shape and structure of your eye. Floaters are tiny objects that move around in the vitreous gel and can be caused by various things such as degenerative changes of the actual gel, cell debris and retinal debris. Floaters cannot be caused by anything external getting into your eye such as dirt etc.
Floaters are especially noticeable if you are looking at a uniform background such as a white wall or the blue sky. In most cases floaters are nothing more than an annoyance but if you suddenly notice an increase in them then it is important that you see an Optometrist as soon as possible.
Laser eye surgery and floaters:
There is certainly no concrete evidence that laser eye surgery can cause floaters, although there is anecdotal evidence with many patients claiming they have noticed an increase in them following Lasik surgery. During the Lasik procedure the intra ocular pressure (inner eye pressure) is raised for a brief time, which is thought could cause existing floaters in your eyes to be disturbed or possibly create new ones if you are someone who is predisposed to getting them.
If the floaters have moved during surgery then it may mean you are more aware of them. Most people learn to ignore floaters over time as the brain adapts to them and ignores them. If the floaters have moved to a new position it will take some time for the brain to go through this process again to learn to ignore them. Another reason floaters can be more noticeable following Lasik is that the clarity of your vision is so good. This can result in you become more ‘eye aware’, meaning you are more likely to notice them. Generally speaking there is no cure for floaters, although most people find they learn to ignore them over a period of time.
There is no increase in the eye pressure during Lasek of PRK meaning both these procedures show no increase in floaters. If you are someone who already has a large amount of floaters, PRK and Lasek may be something you should discuss with your surgeon.