Laser or vitrectomy for vitreous floaters

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What was the aim of this review?
The aim of this Cochrane Review was to find out whether laser or vitrectomy is the most effective and safe treatment for vitreous floaters.

Key messages
It is unclear whether or not laser or vitrectomy is better for the treatment of vitreous floaters.

What was studied in this review?

The eyeball is filled with a clear jelly-like material called vitreous. Sometimes strands of protein clump together in the vitreous. This can give the appearance of small shapes floating in the eye. This is a natural part of ageing, it is harmless, and usually does not need treatment. Larger floaters may be distracting and may make activities, such as reading and driving, difficult.

If floaters are causing vision problems, they can either be treated with laser or vitrectomy. Laser treatment is directed at the floater, which is then vaporised. Vitrectomy is a surgical treatment that involves complete removal of the vitreous.

What are the main results of the review?
The Cochrane researchers did not find any studies that directly compared these two types of treatments.

How up to date is this review?
The Cochrane researchers searched for studies published up to 17 January 2017.