What are Flashes and Floaters?
The terms flashes and floaters refer to seeing things that are abnormal in your field of vision. More specifically, floaters are small specks that may look like clouds that you see when looking at a plain backdrop. The floaters are actually small clumps of vitreous gel (the fluid of your eye). Flashes occur when the vitreous gel in your eye rubs on the retina, causes lightening streaks or flashing lights in your field of vision, similar to the stars you may have seen after standing up too quickly or being hit in the head. While they do not always indicate a dangerous situation, you should be evaluated by a member of the Eye Health Vision Centers team if you are experiencing flashes and/or floaters.
Our greater South Coast-area facilities are staffed with skilled teams of optometrists and ophthalmologists who can diagnose and treat the various causes of flashes and floaters. We are proud to have locations in Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Fall River, and Taunton, MA and Middletown, RI to best serve our greater South Coast-area patients.
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The probability of experiencing flashes and floaters becomes greater as we get older. While they do not always indicate that there is a serious issue, you should see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible if:
- You suddenly begin experiencing one new and large floater
- You begin seeing sudden flashes of light persistently
- You lose your peripheral vision or your vision changes abruptly
- Your vision field appears to be shaded as if the curtain has been drawn
Floaters and flashes are typically diagnosed by the patient and then confirmed by a member of our team. At that time, we can discuss the cause and determine a course of treatment if deemed necessary. Flashes and floaters may be caused by normal aging of the eye and the natural decrease in vitreous gel within the eye. Patients who have undergone a recent vision surgery commonly experience non-threatening floaters. Other potential causes include a release of blood cells from the retina, vitreous detachment, eye inflammation, bleeding, and retinal tear or detachment. Patients with severe myopia (nearsightedness) are at a greater risk of experiencing flashers and floaters and are likewise at a greater risk for retinal tear or detachment. If you begin to notice flashes and floaters suddenly or notice a stark increase in their presence, contact Eye Health Vision Centers right away to schedule an examination.
During your examination, our team will determine the cause of your floaters and flashes and determine whether treatment is needed. In most cases, the issue will resolve on its own without damage to the vision. In other cases, a detached or torn retina is causing the issue and requires immediate treatment. In these cases, laser surgery would be recommended to treat the injury. Treatment options will be discussed after a thorough examination is performed and a diagnosis is made. The Eye Health Vision Centers team will ensure you are aware of each of your options before proceeding with your treatment.
While floaters and flashes do not always indicate an issue, they may make you feel uneasy. This is why Eye Health Vision Centers recommends you schedule an appointment to learn why you have them and to seek relief from their symptoms. Our greater South Coast-area facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and highly skilled ophthalmologists who can quickly diagnose your condition and help you achieve lasting relief. Call our helpful staff today to schedule an appointment with us.