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23G pars plana vitrectomy for vitreal floaters: prospective assessment of subjective self-reported visual impairment and surgery-related risks during the course of treatment



Quantifying the subjective impairment due to floaters based on an indication-specific questionnaire and setting its change between prior to and 3/12 months after elective vitrectomy in relation to surgical risks.


Single-arm longitudinal observational multicenter study. Sixty-four floater patients underwent 23G pars plana vitrectomy; simultaneous phacoemulsification was excluded. An overall self-rated impairment index (SRI) and sub-indices SRI were calculated on the basis of a modified Visual Quality of Life questionnaire (VQoL), which addresses general vision, glare, near-sight problems and mobility of floaters. SRI ranged from 0 to 100% (maximum impairment). Secondary endpoints included corrected visual acuity and complications.


Data were collected prior to and 3 (n = 64) and 12 (n = 62) months after surgery. The median overall SRI improved (44, 12, 11%) with a statistically significant median reduction of 69% (95% confidence interval 50–89%) 3 months postop. The median sub-SRIs improved for glare (50, 17, 17%), near sight problems (50, 17, 8%), and mobility of floaters (43, 5, 0%). Sixteen eyes needed cataract surgery during follow-up (10 showed cataract already prior to vitrectomy). Eight complications were reported (6 intra-operative retinal holes, 2 post-operative retinal detachments).


For the majority of floater patients, subjective impairment was profoundly reduced by vitrectomy. Benefits of surgery prevailed despite complications.

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The authors thank Dr. NA Frost for the permission to use the Visual Quality of Life questionnaire for developing the Floaters questionnaire. Furthermore, the authors are grateful to Mrs. Nicole Waack for study coordination, to Mrs. Levka Dahmen for assistance in data management, and to Mrs. Tara Rödter and to Mrs. Chui Lai Choo-Ludwig for revising the paper focusing on syntax as well as comprehensibility.

The OcuNet Trial Group thank Alcon Pharma GmbH, Freiburg, for supporting the study financially.

Participating study physicians

Dr. H. Kaymak, Gerl-Gruppe, Augenklinik Ahaus, Ahaus

Prof. K. Ludwig, Ober Scharrer Gruppe, ARIS MVZ Nuremberg, Nuremberg

Dr. O. Cartsburg, Augen-Zentrum-Nordwest, Augenpraxis Ahaus, Ahaus

Dr. A. Lommatzsch, Augenärzte am St. Franziskus Hospital, Muenster

Dr. T. Littan, Augenpraxisklinik Lohr, Lohr

Dr. U. Weigmann, Augenklinik Dr. Hoffmann, Braunschweig

Dr. P. Requat, Augenklinik Dr. Hoffmann, Braunschweig

Dr. A. Bunse, Augenärzte Hamburg-Bergedorf, Dr. Bunse Dr. Elsner Dr. Pörksen, Hamburg

Dr. S. Spang, Augen-Partner-Gruppe, Augenzentrum Tuttlingen, Tuttlingen


This study was funded by Alcon Pharma GmbH, Freiburg: funding was used for clinical project management resources and administrated by U Hahn (OcuNet).

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Correspondence to Ursula Hahn.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The coordinating Independent Ethics Committee (Bavaria) gave unrestricted consent to the investigation design at hand by its vote in 08 / 2011; so did all local Committees subsequently in accordance with this vote.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

The floater-specific questionnaire will be made available on request. Please contact Ursula Hahn (

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Hahn, U., Krummenauer, F. & Ludwig, K. 23G pars plana vitrectomy for vitreal floaters: prospective assessment of subjective self-reported visual impairment and surgery-related risks during the course of treatment. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 256, 1089–1099 (2018).

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  • Floaters
  • Mouches volantes
  • Pars Plana vitrectomy
  • Prospective multicenter study
  • Quality of life
  • Subjective impairment