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Floaters & Flashes

What are Floaters? 

  • Floaters are small specks, dots, circles, lines, or cobwebs in your field of vision.
  • Floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous that fills your eye. 
  • You usually notice floaters when looking at something such as a blank wall or a blue sky.
  • As we age, our vitreous starts to thicken or shrink. If the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye, it is called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). Floaters usually occur and can be a sign of posterior vitreous detachment. 
  • Severe floaters can be removed by surgery but this has risks and is seldom necessary.

What are Flashes? 

  • Flashes can look like flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. 
  • Some people compare them to seeing “stars” after being hit on the head. 
  • You might see flashes on and off for weeks, or even months. Flashes happen when the vitreous rubs or pulls on your retina.
  • As people age, it is common to see flashes occasionally.  

If you notice a lot of new floaters or flashes, a shadow appear in your peripheral vision, or a gray curtain covers part of your vision please call us immediately. These symptoms may be a result of a torn or detached retina, a serious condition that needs to be treated right away. 

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