What are flashes?
Flashes can look like flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. Some people see them on and off for weeks or even months. Flashes happen when the vitreous (jelly-like substance in the middle of the eye) rubs or pulls on your retina. As people age, it is common to see flashes occasionally.
What are floaters?
Floaters can look like small specks, dots, circles, lines or cobwebs that appear in your field of vision. While they seem to be in front of your eye, they are actually floating inside. Floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous that fills your eye. What you see are the shadows these clumps cast on your retina.
What can be done about flashes and floaters?
In most cases, floaters and flashes are not a serious problem and do not require treatment. However, there are times when they can be signs of a serious condition. Call Carter Eye Center right away if you notice:
- Many new floaters
- Many new flashes
- A shadow in your peripheral (side) vision
- A gray curtain covering part of your vision
These floaters and flashes could be symptoms of a torn or detached retina. This is when the retina pulls away from the back of your eye. This is a serious condition that needs to be treated right away.