Flashes and Floaters

WHAT ARE FLASHES / FLOATERS?

Floaters look like small specks moving in front of your eyes. They are actually tiny clumps of cells or material floating through the clear gel in your eye, known as the vitreous. As they move across your eye, they cast shadows onto the retina that causes the visual sensation of moving specks. Floaters can become more prominent with age, and are no real threat to an individual’s overall health. However, floaters may become distracting. If floaters develop suddenly or substantially, it is important to visit an eye doctor to help examine your overall eye health.

Flashes look like lightning streaks. They happen when the vitreous gel of the eye pulls on its attachment to the retina, the part of the eye that senses light. In general, flashes are normal but may be a sign of other eye problems such as retinal detachment or tears. It is important to visit an eye doctor should you begin to experience flashes.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

While typically harmless, if you suddenly notice an increase in floaters or flashes, see your doctor. Flashes and floaters may be indicative of an underlying condition, and it is important to evaluate your eye health if you experience them.

 

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT?

Floaters and flashes may mean there is a problem with your retina, the layer of nerve tissue at the back of the eye. A torn retina is always a serious problem since it can lead to a retinal detachment. You should see your eye doctor as soon as possible if a new floater appears suddenly or if you see sudden flashes of light. If you notice a loss of side vision, you should see your ophthalmologist.

If you are experiencing flashes and floaters and seek more information on your options, call or schedule online at the Williamson Eye Center. Our Louisiana eye experts can help you to learn more about this condition, and provide insights into whether or not they are indicative of a greater health risk. Visit us at one of our convenient eye clinics in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, Zachary, or Denham Springs.

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