New Treatments for Eye Floaters

Oscar Cobb


Floaters are a common nuisance, and for some they can become debilitating. Yet, there is a lack of available treatments for floaters which are effective and without side effects. We'll look at the approaches already available and why many people avoid them, as well as how science is developing new approaches which avoid the harmful side effects. We'll also examine the research on nutrients which target floaters, potentially removing the need for surgery.


What are eye floaters?

Eye floaters are a common nuisance to many individuals. These spots or squiggles that pass across the field of vision affect 76% of the population, according to a sampled group of phone users. In some cases, they can seriously affect wellbeing due to the interference in everyday vision.

Eye floaters are caused by clumps of collagen that interfere with light passing through the clear gel in the eye, the vitreous humour . These collagen clumps form through degeneration of the vitreous humour, often caused by oxidative stress and glycation. This degeneration can be accelerated through various lifestyle and diet choices which make floaters more severe. 

What current treatments exist?

Currently, the common recommended medical advice for floaters is to do nothing. In some cases, floaters can resolve on their own. However, many individuals find floaters greatly impact their lives and may find this recommendation unsatisfactory.

In the most severe cases, a surgery called a vitrectomy is performed where parts of the vitreous humour are removed along with the floaters within. The remaining space is then filled with saline. This type of treatment is typically reserved for the most severe cases of floaters, where daily life becomes difficult.

This treatment is rarely employed as it comes with potential complications such as increased risk of developing cataracts, infections and bleeding within the eye.

Another increasingly common treatment type is YAG laser vitreolysis . This treatment involves focussing a laser within the vitreous humour. This laser energy, in theory, breaks down the clumps of collagen and removes the floaters.

The efficacy of this treatment is not well proven and this procedure comes with the concern of damaging the delicate structures in the eye, such as the retina, leading to issues such as glaucoma and cataracts. This treatment is often recommended without properly explaining the risks and is not a medically approved procedure.

Because the treatments above are fairly costly, and the perceived effect of floaters is low, these treatments are rarely recommended.

New alternative treatments may provide a more appealing route, avoiding the risks associated with laser treatment or invasive surgery.

New Treatments


Recent studies have shown that nutrition may be an exciting new alternative to treating eye floaters.

A 2021 study found that supplementation of several nutrients important to eye health reduced the severity of floaters in 66% of patients. These nutrients include zinc, L-lysine, vitamin C, and extracts from grape and Seville orange, which are full of antioxidants.

Other studies have shown that various nutrients and vitamins are effective at reducing age-related vision issues. Nutrition has been shown to reduce the risks of cataracts , age-related macular degeneration and uveitis .

These diseases are also associated with ageing processes, such as oxidative stress, linked to the development of floaters. Many of the nutrients shown to reduce age-related eye diseases are antioxidants and appear to prevent vitreous degeneration by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the causes of collagen clumping together to form floaters, and so antioxidants could prevent this.

It is suggested that these same nutrients may be important in preventing the vitreous degeneration that leads to the formation of floaters.

For a full exploration of the best nutrients and vitamins to prevent floaters, read this blog.

Low dose atropine eye drops

Another new and exciting possible treatment for the reduction of floater symptoms comes in the form of eye drops.

Atropine is a drug that relaxes muscles. It is commonly used in ophthalmic settings to dilate the pupils in order to allow for an eye examination.

Recently, a novel use for atropine has been suggested, offering symptomatic relief of eye floaters. Because it relaxes muscles in the eye, giving atropine in a very low dose can slightly alter how the eye focuses on incoming light.

This alteration of light focusing can mean that floaters are less visible. If you experience floaters, you may notice a similar effect when you squint or open your eyes wide. When squinting, floaters become more apparent due to changes in the light entering the eye.

In an unpublished 2017 study, researchers found that 70% of those treated with 0.01% dose of atropine experienced a reduction in floater symptoms.

Without this study, the efficacy of this treatment has received little scientific attention, meaning its viability remains to be proven.

This treatment is unique, as rather than removing the clumps of collagen, it simply prevents them from being noticeable.

Experimental Treatments for Floaters

Gold-coated Nanoparticles

Recent experiments have shown an interesting new treatment for floaters. This technique uses the energy of lasers to break up collagen, but does so much more safely than the current YAG laser vitreolysis technique.

Instead of shooting high-energy lasers into the vitreous body, this technique targets low energy lasers on collagen clumps throughout the eye.

To do this, small gold nanoparticles are injected into the eye. These nanoparticles accumulate on the clumps of collagen that cause floaters.

A low-energy laser is then fired into the eye. Experiments on retinal cells suggest that this laser is not powerful enough to damage any cells in the eye.

It is, however, powerful enough to destroy the collagen clumps thanks to the gold-coated nanoparticles that coat it. The laser heats up the gold-coated nanoparticles, causing the collagen to break down.

This treatment requires 0.1% of the energy of conventional laser therapy. This should greatly reduce the risk of damaging the eye with lasers.

This treatment is still very much in the experimental phase, there are currently no human trials proposed for this research.

Hopefully this research will continue and an alternative laser therapy may be available in the coming years.

Optimised laser vitreolysis: New approaches

The possibility of safer, modified laser treatments is also being explored by startup company PulseMedica.

This startup is developing advanced imaging and more accurate delivery of laser energy to treat a variety of vitreous diseases.

In theory, this technology will allow for the accurate use of short bursts of laser energy to break up floaters. This accuracy should minimise any risks associated and increase the efficacy of the treatment.

Similarly, german project “xfloater” is developing improved laser vitreolysis techniques capable of treating floaters situated near the retina.

Traditional laser vitreolysis is typically only viable for floaters in the central vitreous due to the risks of exposing the retina to high-energy lasers.

Using shorter bursts of laser energy and improved targeting, this project should allow laser treatment of a wider range of floaters.

Whilst still in their developmental stages, these projects are appealing new developments in the treatment of floaters. With a lower risk of damaging the eye and a theoretically more accurate treatment of floaters, these start-ups may develop effective, risk free floater cures in the coming years.


With the current treatments available proving unappealing for many affected by floaters, these new treatments offer attractive new alternatives for treating this condition.

These new treatments explore a variety of approaches. Exciting new techniques in laser vitreolysis may offer improved safety and efficacy compared to current methods.

Other interventions such as the use of low-dose atropine and nutrition provide alternatives that do not involve the risk of lasers or surgery.

Whilst low-dose atropine requires a prescription from a medical professional, supplements such as  Clearer™v1.5 provide nutrients specifically added to target the root causes of eye floaters and thereby help to manage their progression.

With increasing attention being paid to the condition of severe eye floaters, these new alternatives and exciting current research may provide more effective treatments without the costs and risks of current interventions. 

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