Most people have experienced "floaters," which are those spots that float in your vision temporarily. Floaters can appear in a variety of shapes and sizes, but are not usually cause for concern. "Flashers," also called flashes, are flashes of light or lightning-like streaks in your vision. They tend to happen more frequently in men and women middle aged and older. Most people experience floaters and flashes in their vision
Floaters and flashers are not usually harmful, but if you are concerned about them, please do not hesitate to contact us for an eye exam.
If you are suddenly experiencing a lot more floaters and/or flashes than usual, this could be a medical emergency.
Floaters, What are they?
Floaters occur when parts of the eye's vitreous break free and float loose. You are not actually seeing bits of vitreous gel; rather, you're seeing the shadows cast by it. It's common for this to happen as we get older, and is not usually dangerous. In addition, people who are nearsighted or who have had cataract surgery are more susceptible to floaters.
The reason floaters happen as we get older is because the vitreous, which normally has a gel-like consistency, begins to gradually break down and become more like a liquid in the center. As bits of the vitreous that are still gel-like float through the liquid center, they cast shadows over our vision, leading to floaters.
Flashers, What are they?
Flashes can occur for a number of reasons, including:
Displacement of the retina
Hitting the head hard enough to jostle the vitreous
When the retina is disturbed in any way, it sends a signal to the brain that is interpreted as a flash of light. The vitreous gel in the eye can occasionally touch the When to see an eye doctor for flashers and floatersretina, leading to a flash. Typically, this is not a cause for alarm; however, if the retina is disturbed enough to begin to tear or detach, this is an emergency. If you see many new flashes at once, you should immediately call an eye doctor, as it could be a sign of retinal detachment.
Other signs of retinal detachment can include a shower of new floaters, shadows in your peripheral vision, or a "curtain" drawing over your vision.
People who suffer from migraines may experience jagged flashes of light at the onset of a migraine. The cause of these flashes of light is due to sudden spasming of blood vessels in the brain, rather than retinal disturbance.