Floaters and Flashes

If you sometimes see small specks, clouds, or flashes of light moving in your field of vision, it’s important to see an ophthalmologist to determine the cause. Although these floaters and flashes are often harmless and do not indicate a major problem, they can sometimes be a sign of retinal detachment.

Call us today at (972) 403-1110 to schedule an eye appointment with Dr. Brooks if you are experiencing floaters and/or flashes.

What are Floaters and Flashes?

Floaters are tiny clumps of cells or protein tissue that form inside the vitreous layer – the clear, gel-like fluid that fills the inside cavity of your eye. These clumps of material can cast shadows on the light-sensitive retina.

Flashes are caused by any type of stimulation to the retina. Most commonly, flashes occur when the vitreous gel in your eye pulls away from the retina. As the vitreous fibers pull on the retinal nerve cells, your eye has a sensation of a flash of light or lightning streaks. Flashes can occur in one small spot, or in multiple locations across a wider visual field.

Causes of Floaters and Flashes

It is normal to experience floaters and flashes more often as you grow older. As you age, the vitreous gel in your eyes tends to liquefy and shrink, pulling away from the back wall of the eye. This condition is called posterior vitreous detachment, and it is most common in people who:

Vitreous detachment is not dangerous in and of itself. However, if you are diagnosed with this condition, Dr. Brooks will closely monitor you to ensure a retinal tear does not occur in the future.

Signs of Retinal Detachment

Floaters and flashes may be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment if:

  • You notice a sudden increase in the size and number of floaters
  • You notice a sudden increase in flashes
  • A shadow or “curtain” appears in your side (periphery) vision
  • Your quality of vision suddenly decreases

If you are noticing regular floaters and flashes in your vision, please contact Brooks Eye Associates or call (972) 403-1110 today to schedule an appointment. We serve patients in North Texas, including Plano, Frisco, and Dallas.

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