There is no difference between FOV (Floater Only Vitrectomy) and a vitrectomy. They are exactly the same operation. FOV is a term used by patients and vitrectomy is the term used by retinal specialists.
In my experience, FOV is the acronym coined by patients who suffer from floaters when referring to vitrectomy. Vitrectomy (pars plana vitrectomy) is the basic operation performed by only a retinal specialist.
A vitrectomy allows me to repair;
- retinal detachments
- complications from diabetic retinopathy
- macular holes and epiretinal membranes
- remove vitreous hemorrhage
- …and remove floaters
Floater Only Vitrectomy
At the beginning of every operation, I need to remove most of the vitreous. This is called a vitrectomy.
Removal of the vitreous allows me to safely operate on the retina and complete any of the tasks noted above. In the case of floaters, once the vitreous is removed, the operation is completed!
So, in a way, every operation I perform is an “FOV.”
Technically the Same
When I perform a vitrectomy (FOV, floaterectomy), I perform the same technical procedure as I do when starting any other case.
As of this writing (December 2013), I prefer operating using a 25 gauge vitrectomy system made by Alcon. 25 gauge systems are much safer than the older 20 gauge systems, but the Constellation Vision System is the best.
While I rarely use 20 gauge systems any more, sometimes I must for certain complicated cases requiring the thicker and larger instruments. This is not the case for removing floaters. The thinner 25 gauge instruments are perfect for safely removing vitreous.
23 gauge systems are available. I personally do not see any advantage over the 25 gauge and prefer not to use them.
What’s the Point?
Vitrectomy and FOV are the same. FOV does not require special techniques or instrumentation.
FOV refers to a vitrectomy performed for the removal of floaters…and that’s it!