Floaters & Flashes
What Are Floaters?
Eye floaters appear as small, black, specks or dots in one’s field of vision. They tend to drift around as we move our eyes, and may be temporary or permanent. In most cases, they become more obvious on a white background or in bright sunlight. Although irritating, floaters are usually not a major cause for concern.
What Causes Floaters?
Floaters are caused by degeneration of the vitreous of our eyes. As we age, it is very common for the vitreous to dissolve and liqueify. As a result, the residual, undissolved clumps become black spots or specks in our vision.
What Are Flashes? What Causes Flashes?
Eye flashes appear similar to lightning strikes or flashing lights in one’s field of vision. Similar to eye floaters, eye flashes are often caused due to the aging of the eye. As we age, the vitreous gel in our eye begins to shrink. This may tug on the blood vessels of the eye, resulting in flashes.
Aside from aging, eye flashes can also be caused by certain diseases, exposure to chemicals, or trauma to the head.
Most people will experience eye flashes at least once – they are usually not a cause for concern.
When Are Floaters & Flashes A Cause For Concern?
Whilst floaters are mostly benign, there are certain cases in which they may be indicative of a serious eye condition. If you notice a sudden increase in the number of floaters in your eye, accompanied by flashes or a “curtain” effect, it may be indicative of retinal tears or retinal detachment.
In such cases, it is important to consult a doctor immediately. Retinal detachment can lead to permanent loss of vision.
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