Flashes and floaters are common to many people. “Floaters” refers to tiny dark specks, dots, circles or lines that move across your field of vision. “Flashes” refers to the visual sensation of lights going on and off, or sparks flickering within your field of vision.
Both flashes and floaters are usually harmless. Many will fade over time and become less bothersome. However, an increase in occurrence can be a warning sign of a developing problem within the eye.
Although floaters appear to be in front of you, they are actually within the eye. Floaters are small clumps of cells within the vitreous (clear gel within the eye). An increase in floaters may occur with age. As we age, the vitreous shrinks and begins to separate from the retina. As a result, floaters may appear.
The vitreous may sometimes pull on the retina, causing the appearance of flashes. Flashes are much like the sensation experienced when hit in the eye and you “see stars”. As such, flashes can be caused by impact to the head.
Although generally harmless, key warning signs of flashes and floaters include:
It is important to report any symptoms immediately to our Optometrists to determine whether your case of flashes and floaters is harmless, or potentially potentially vision threatening.
If a retinal hole or tear is detected early, treatment can be provided in order to prevent the retina from detaching. Several surgical procedures may be used to fuse the retina back to the wall of the eye. If the retina has begun to detach, other procedures for re-attachment may be used but need to be performed as soon as possible.
Our Optometrists are readily able to address any questions or concerns you may have relating to a treatment plan.