Flashes and floaters in the eye happen for many reasons, the most common being. Both flashes and floaters are generally harmless and do not require medical treatment. However, they may sometimes signal a retinal tear or detachment, which are conditions that can lead to vision loss if left untreated.
“Although very common, sudden onset of flashes and floaters should prompt a thorough peripheral retinal eye exam to be certain there is not a retinal tear or early retinal detachment,” explains Dr. Jose Martinez. “Both can be treated effectively but left untreated can lead to more serious sight-threatening problems.”
If you experience any of the following key warning signs of retinal tears or detachment, call your doctor right away:
- A new onset of floaters and flashes of light in the eye
- Gradual shading of vision from one side (like a curtain being drawn)
- Rapid decline in sharp, central vision
What are eye floaters?
Eye floaters are spots in your vision that occur because the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. As a result, microscopic fibers clump together and cast tiny shadows on your retina.
What are eye flashes?
Flashes are common after an eye injury. Many people report having ‘flashing lights’ or ‘lightening streaks’ appear in their visual field. This happens when the vitreous gel inside your eye rubs or pulls on the retina. Flashes of light can persist for several weeks or months following an eye injury.
What can you do about flashes and floaters in the eye?
The easiest way to get rid of flashes and floaters in the eye, at least temporarily, is to move your eyes up and down (this is more effective than moving your eyes side to side). This movement shifts the fluid around in your eye and moves them out of your field of vision.
If your condition is more serious and your vision is impaired, your doctor may recommend surgery or laser treatments including:
Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove some or all of the vitreous gel from the eye. Your physician will then replace this jelly-like substance with a synthetic substitute to help your eye maintain its shape.
While less common, floaters can be broken apart using a laser treatment. During this procedure, a laser is aimed at the floaters and breaks them apart so they are no longer noticeable.
For expert uveitis treatment in Austin, Texas, call Austin Retina Associates at 800-252-8259 to schedule an initial consultation.