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Flashes & Floaters

Understanding Eye Floaters and Flashes

  • Specks, dots and even flashes of light within your eye are flashers or floaters
  • They can occur at all ages
  • Generally, “floaters” and “flashes” do not indicate a serious eye problem
  • Understanding what they are can often ease your mind

The natural aging process, trauma and/or diabetes can cause the a clear, gel-like fluid which fills the inner eye, known as the vitreous to shrink and pull away from the retina, the inner lining of your eye. This can in turn cause small particles of heavier gel within the vitreous to form. These “floaters” may appear as flecks, specs, lines, clouds, cobwebs or little dots. As the vitreous contracts from the retina, flashes of light can continue on and off for several weeks.

Although infrequent, the vitreous pulling away from the retina may tear it and can cause bleeding in your eye and/or retinal detachment.

Symptoms may include:

  • A sudden onset of flashes of light
  • A large number of new floaters
  • The appearance of a dark shadow within your field of vision

If you experience these symptoms, it is imperative that you are diagnosed and treated promptly by an ophthalmologist.

Most individuals learn to ignore floaters once they understand that they are harmless and not associated with retinal tear or detachment. But if you’re alarmed about the floaters and/or flashes you’ve been seeing, a board-certified ophthalmologist at Yaldo Eye Center can perform a thorough medical eye examination and discuss your concerns with you to determine if you need further evaluation or treatment for your floaters and flashes.


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