Weiss Ring Floaters: What Are They and Is There a Cure for Them?

Eye floaters are described in many different ways, as black or gray spots or dots, strands or strings, or any series of connected “cobwebs” that are seen as visual disturbances to the naked eye of an affected person.

Most of these visual disturbances come from detached free-floating tissue in the aqueous fluid in the eye, but in the case of the Weiss Ring, the visual disturbance is described as a smoky or very dark-colored thick ring, a round or oval shape – darker than other floaters, and more easily seen.

The Weiss Ring is a tiny piece of optic nerve tissue on the back surface of the vitreous gel. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this fibrous floater is usually located safely away from the crystalline lens and the retina and has little to no chance of being a danger to the physical eye, but it is entirely irritating.

Some of the causes of Weiss Ring, according to Natural Eye Care are:
*Injury or trauma to the eye;
*Nearsightedness due to the shape of the eye, which causes stress and pulling on the retina;
*Inflammation or injury to connective tissue;
*Degeneration of the layers of the retina that can result in breaks or tears;
*Aging, particularly of those past the age of 50, where the vitreous gel slowly becomes more liquid and/or clumps, which also pulls on the retina.

Some patients report that the symptoms of the Weiss Ring will disappear within three months, and others say they have had one for many years, with no potential relief in sight outside of surgery.

Doctors are very skeptical about performing surgery, because there are no guarantees that it will work, or that the floaters will not reoccur, or that something else may go wrong.

One of the latest treatments, known as YAG Laser, is said to be an effective treatment for symptomatic vitreous floaters.

However, according to Medscape.com, Jennifer I. Lim, MD, from the Marion H. Schenk Chair and professor of ophthalmology and director of the retina service at the University of Illinois at Chicago, states that YAG laser vitreolysis for the treatment of Weiss rings is not widely used. “If people were to use this treatment, then they would best apply the same inclusion criteria as was used in this study: symptomatic Weiss rings. At this time, I do not advocate this treatment until further work is performed.”

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