Although typically harmless, floaters and flashes can be somewhat of a nuisance. Most people experience the occasional specks, dots or flashes of light at some point in their lives, and understanding what they are and what causes them can give you peace of mind.
What Causes Flashes & Floaters?
As we age, the vitreous (clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the eye) begins to liquefy, form clumps that we see as floaters, and can eventually pull away from the back of the eye.
These changes in the vitreous gel are part of the normal aging process and usually occur without issue. However, in some people, the separation of the vitreous from the retina can result in bleeding, a retinal tear, a retinal hole or a retinal detachment.
Flashes in your vision can result from any forces pulling on your retina. Floaters can represent clumped vitreous gel, blood or cell aggregates. When you experience flashes and/or floaters it is important to see your eye doctor. By performing a dilated eye exam, your doctor will be able to determine the status of your retina. Please call to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing flashes or floaters.
How are Flashes and Floaters Treated?
Floaters usually don’t require medical attention and should fade with time. In the rare case where the retina becomes torn or detached, a retinal laser procedure or retinal surgery will be needed to prevent vision loss.
If you experience flashes and floaters, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.