Causes of Floaters and Flashes
As you reach middle age, you may start to notice floaters and flashes crossing your vision more frequently than they did before. These are caused by tiny clumps of protein tissue or cells that cast shadows within your eye’s vitreous layer. Floaters and flashes usually appear when you are staring at a plain background – such as the sky or a wall – and may take the form of:
- Small specks, clouds, or strands
- Flashing lights
- “Lightning” streaks
Floaters and flashes are most often caused by a condition called vitreous detachment. Over the years, the vitreous gel within your eye slowly shrinks, causing the fine fibers that are attached to the surface of your retina to pull on its surface. Vitreous detachment is most common in people who:
If you are diagnosed with vitreous detachment, Dr. Brooks will monitor your condition to ensure that retinal detachment does not occur in the future. If you suddenly experience a major increase in the size and amount of floaters and flashes, or if a shadow appears in your periphery vision, call us immediately. You may be at risk of retinal detachment, which can quickly lead to complete vision loss if it is not treated.