NATURAL, ALTERNATIVE, & SUPPLEMENT THERAPY AND TREATMENTS

“We should be open-minded, but not so much that our brains fall out.” Richard Dawkins

I will preface this section by acknowledging as I have elsewhere that very little time, energy, and effort has been dedicated to the formal study of the common problem of eye floaters in humans. The following information is based on my medical training, my ophthalmology subspecialty training, my experience in treating floaters, as well as listening to the many, many stories and anecdotes that patients and potential patients provide to me. My recommendations are also based on the knowledge that the vitreous fluid is a relatively inert viscoelastic fluid that does not contain cells that make up the rest of the body.

It is my strong opinion that natural, alternative and supplement therapy, regardless the putative and asserted, and scientific sounding mechanism of action, does not significantly decrease or affect the subjective awareness of eye floaters in any noticeable or measurable way.

It is understandable that frustrated patients will look for and reach out to those making claims of treatment success with alternative forms, but that is also a reflection of the hope and optimism and desperation of these patients who have been let down by traditional medicine, enticement ventures, the pharmaceutical industry, and their local and trusted medical eye care provider.

Whenever traditional medicine fails, it creates a vacuum for charlatans and “snake oil salesmen” to step in with all kinds of claims. Using a bit of pseudoscience, their claims and even sound convincing. Understand, though, that most every medical therapy, medical intervention, and nutritional supplementation targets the proteins on the surface of cells. Vitreous fluid containing living, breathing cells, these traditional interventions would not, and should not, and actually don’t work. There has been some previous interest in work with enzymes that target and cleave the collagen proteins that make up a 0.1% of the vitreous that is not water. One of the problems with this approach is that collagen is a very common structural protein that also makes up the lens of the eye, the whites of the eyes, the cornea, as well as many other structural components of the body. Collagen is essentially what holds us together.

Since eye floaters are composed of these normally-present collagen structural proteins, it would be difficult if not impossible to target those specifically. They are not foreign material, they are not unique to that portion of the eye, and to inject an enzyme directly to the eye will cause widespread breakdown of the vitreous and in previous efforts, these enzymes have caused more floaters and liquefaction of the vitreous fluid. There is some limited use of these proteins with the purpose of inducing a posterior vitreous detachment prior to a planned floater-only surgical vitrectomy. This may be an advantage for those younger people about to undergo vitrectomy and by causing a vitreous detachment, the vitreous is induced to separate from the retina reducing the risks of the procedure.

For those still interested in alternative approaches and magical thinking, I invite you to watch the following:

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