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Vitreous floaters

Floaters are caused by fragments of the vitreous humour that fills the back cavity of the eye. As the vitreous shrinks, it forms clumps which cast shadows on the light sensitive part of the eye, the retina.

What are the
symptoms?

People with floaters notice the appearance of flying objects which follow the eye movement. These are variously described as tadpoles, cobwebs, lace curtains or dots moving on the field of vision.

Who needs vitrectomy
surgery for floaters?

Vitrectomy surgery is indicated when the vitreous floaters are severe enough to interfere with daily activities, such as not allowing to read continuously or coming in and out of the line of vision interfering with driving or work.

What are the
benefits?

The benefit of vitreous removal is the improvement of the quality of vision. Surgery is the only proven treatment for floaters.

Vitreoretinal
surgery explained

Your pre-operative appointment Before going ahead with your procedure, your consultant fully assesses your eye health. If you are having combined cataract and retinal surgery, we will carry out a biometry test to ensure your replacement lens is the correct one for you. Your consultant will explain the procedure in detail and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

What happens
during surgery?

Vitreoretinal surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure that normally takes between 30-40 minutes. Most vitreoretinal operations are performed under a local anaesthetic. This means you will be awake, but you will not be able to feel any pain. You may see a bright light and some movement, but you will not feel any discomfort. Your surgeon will talk you through everything they are doing.

This procedure is usually carried out on a day patient basis, so you’ll be home the same day. You will not be able to drive home and we recommend having someone available to look after you for about 24 hours after your procedure.

What happens
after surgery?

We will arrange all necessary follow-up appointments with your consultant to ensure your recovery is complete and your vision is the best it can be.

How do I get referred?

Your optician or GP will discuss the various treatment options available to you and where you can choose to have your treatment. You’ll be able to take the time to decide where you’d like to be treated, and your GP or optician will make the arrangements for your referral.

How to refer

Please follow your local protocol regarding referrals – we accept direct referrals by secure email, fax, OptoManager and post. Please call us on the number at the top of this page if you would like any further information about making a referral to Newmedica.

  • BMI >40, weight >160kg and unable to transfer independently
  • Uncontrolled hypertension – persistent diastolic >100mmHg
  • MI or CVA within 3 months of surgery MRSA positive
  • Active exposed skin infection Indwelling defibrillators
  • Poorly controlled diabetes – BS >20

For optometrists
Send a letter to the patient’s GP with GOS18 requesting an onward referral via ERS.

For GPs and Referral Centres
Send a referral form to Newmedica with GOS18 by post or secure fax 020 7924 6262 or email to: 
newmedica.referrals@nhs.net

Cataract and oculoplastic referrals will be assessed against local criteria.

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