Floaters and Flashes – What Do They Mean?

By blogwriter
July 15, 2015

Sometimes, you may find dots or small specks floating in your field of vision, or you may start seeing lightning streaks or flashing lights. The dots, small specks, or similar things floating in your field of vision are called floaters, while the lightning streaks and flashing lights are called flashes. Floaters and flashes can occur in anyone, from people with healthy eyes to those with conditions like retinal detachment.

What You Need to Know About Floaters and Flashes

  • Flashes: These present themselves in your sight when the vitreous, which is a clear fluid (gel-like) that is in your eye, pulls on your retina. With aging, the vitreous changes and can pull away from your eye's inside surface. Therefore, flashes can indicate a serious problem. In severe cases, like if the vitreous detaches completely, then you may also suffer from vision loss.
  • Floaters: These are objects that are actually present in the vitreous gel. They can take up a variety of shapes like lines, dots, circles, etc. If you see floaters, then it is possible that there may be a tear in your retina. Unless this tear is treated, your retina will detach from your eye and the only way forward for you then will be surgery. Sometimes, the floaters are just present and do not require any treatment. However, if you experience a change in vision with a manifestation of floaters and/or flashes or if your floaters start becoming more prominent, then you should schedule a consultation with your doctor.

Floaters and flashes usually start manifesting at some point of time or another and is a result of aging. In addition, those who are nearsighted, have eye injury, or have undergone eye surgeries are vulnerable to detachment of retina and vitreous and, therefore, may start seeing flashes and floaters in their vision.

Eye Health

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