Floaters & Flashes of Light

Seeing floaters is a common occurrence and usually no cause for worry. Floaters may appear as tiny specks or “cobwebs” or as small dark shadows, “thread-like” strands or even “squiggly” lines that actually float around in your field of vision. They tend to move as your eyes move, but not necessarily in the same direction, and often just drift away when your eyes stop moving. Typically they become more noticeable when looking at a visual field with a white background such as a plain piece of paper or a clear blue sky. Floaters are a normal and expected consequence of the aging process of your eyes and, if left alone, they will “settle” or break up over time and no longer be annoying. The likelihood of experiencing floaters increases as we get older and is more common if you are very nearsighted, have diabetes or have had a blow to the head from sports or an accident.  Sometimes other eye conditions or problems inside the eye may cause floaters such as infections, inflammation, hemorrhages, retinal tears or trauma to the eye.
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About Flashes of Light

Occasionally, a small section of the vitreous gel inside your eye may pull away from the retina all at once instead of slowly and gradually. This can cause a noticeable and sudden increase in the number of floaters and be accompanied by flashes of light. This is called a Vitreous Detachment and it means that you should have a prompt eye exam, especially if light flashes or a distortion in your side vision accompanies it. These are signs of a possible Retinal Detachment, which is a sight threatening medical emergency.