What are Flashes and Floaters?
Do you sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision? If so, you may have floaters. Floaters can appear as different shapes, like dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs. This is caused by tiny clumps of material inside the vitreous, the clear gel-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye, which pulls free of its attachments to the back of the eye. When this happens, what you are seeing are the shadows that are cast on the retina. Sometimes you may see what looks like flashing lights or lightning streaks, which are known as flashes.
This is caused when the vitreous gel pulls on the retina. As you grow older, it’s common to experience floaters and flashes. You should seek medical attention if you experience a shower of floaters and spots, occasionally followed by light flashes. This sudden appearance could mean that the vitreous is pulling away from the retina or the retina is becoming displaced from the inner back of the eye. When the retina is torn, vitreous can penetrate the opening and push out the retina – leading to a detachment. It is important to have a thorough eye exam if you have experienced any of the above symptoms.
Call Eye Center South at 800-467-1393 to schedule an appointment with one of our Board-Certified Retina Specialists, Dr. John Fortin or Dr. Ram Peddada.