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Flashes & Floaters

Category: Vision Health Concern

Published: 2016-10-12

Floaters

Floaters are those specks or spots that  drift across your vision inexplicably. They often seem to come from nowhere, and disappear without explanation without causing  any harm to your vision, however they can also be signs of a more serious problem.

Causes Of Floaters

Floaters can occur when the eye is irritated or when  the fluid within between the  lens and the retina, called vitreous, gets deposited with crystal like objects. As we age, the vitreous fluid in our eyes shrink and separate from the retina. About half of the world’s population experiences some degree of this separation by age 50, with most of them being unaware of the condition.

Flashes

Flashes happen when the eye is touched or moved, for instance after being hit while playing sports or aggressive rubbing of the eyes. Those that wear  contact lenses tend to rub their eyes more frequently after wearing their lenses for an extended period of time. When this happens, “stars” or flashes in the person’s vision can appear momentarily.

Causes Of Flashes

Flashes happen when the vitreous pulls on the retina, usually leaving a flash or “stars” behind. When the vitreous actually separates from the retina, you can see flashes for time periods ranging from  a few days to more than a week.. Migraines can also cause flashes, with jagged lines of light lasting 20 minutes or so in one or both eyes.

Are Floaters Or Flashes Dangerous?

Most people experience floaters or flashes at some point in their  lives and there is no long term damage . However, sudden onset of either, and for an extended duration,could require immediate medical attention. If your t floaters or flashes are accompanied by any of the following, , visit a doctor immediately:

  • Sudden occurrence of flashing lights or floaters appear after a blow to the head or after a sudden jarring movement
  • If a sudden black out or reduced field of vision occurs resulting from a possible retinal tear or detachment

How Are Floaters & Flashes Treated?

Floaters are usually harmless but if they are persistent, especially in older patients, surgery may be used to correct it. A procedure called a vitrectomy  drains  a portion of the vitreous fluid from the eye in an attempt to reduce or remove floaters, replacing it with sterile liquid.

Immediate severe flashes  usually indicate the occurrence of an eye injury has happened and will need medical attention immediately. Reattachment of the retina can be done if detected early enough to restore vision loss.