Treating patient
Dr. Karickhoff disrupting a floater

Laser disruption is accomplished as follows. After dilating the pupil, a numbing eye drop is given and a special contact lens for treating eye floaters is placed on the eye. Then the laser is carefully aimed, and the floater or floaters are either vaporized with the laser, or the floater's attachments are vaporized so that the floater is re-positioned to a different part of the eye. This disruption also helps the eye to absorb any remaining particles. After vaporizing the big floater or floaters, we may have to leave tiny particles that are just too small to aim on.

The disruption is done with a beam of invisible light through the pupil. There is no incision or discomfort. The focusing is so precise that the laser should be owned, personally aligned regularly, and used only by one surgeon. The procedure is done best with intense concentration, and with no distractions or hurry. It is impossible to know before the appointment is made whether the case will be done and whether it will take 5 minutes or half an hour. Only Dr. Karickhoff ever touches the laser. Post-operatively there are no restrictions on activities. The patient is seen the next day. Occasionally it is not possible to disrupt the floaters in one sitting. If an additional sitting is required, there is no charge for the additional session. Rarely the floaters can not be disrupted.

Laser Procedure Actually Gets Rid of Eye Floaters

This laser procedure actually gets rid of floaters, not just breaks them into smaller pieces. The laser process used is called optical breakdown. This same process is used by all cataract surgeons to make a clear hole with a YAG laser in postoperative cataract membranes. Our laser procedure has major advantages over the vitrectomy procedure. Our procedure is much more precise, meaning the floaters are disrupted without changing the rest of the vitreous or other eye structures. The other main advantage over vitrectomy is that our laser procedure does not open the eye. When the eye is opened in vitrectomy, there is significant risk of infection, wound leaks, retinal detachment, and cataract formation.


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John Karickhoff, M.D. • 313 Park Avenue • Falls Church, VA 22046