Eye Floaters and Flashes: When to Worry

Many of us have experienced vision changes from time to time. Sometimes your eyesight is a little blurry when you first wake up in the morning or your eyes water because of allergies. Those who wear contacts or glasses know the feeling well. There are several other reasons for vision changes, however. Seeing floaters is a common complication that is usually nothing more than an inconvenience. There are times, however, when you may need to visit the doctor. Pay close attention to any unusual symptoms you may have. Eye floaters can accompany other health issues, such as insomnia. It is important to know when to call the doctor.


Floater are often described by patients as grey or black spots in their visionary field. They are often seen in a variety of forms. These include dots, cobweb style, or specks. Some people may experience a cloud shape version. Floaters get their name from appearing to linger or “float” in mid-air. Some people report that they are moving, while others only see them as stationary objects.

Vitreous Fluid

The vitreous fluid in your eye is a gel type substance that fills up your eyeball. As a bodily fluid, this is one of the things that forensic specialists use to determine cause of death. Floaters are caused by an irregularity in this gel. The shadow cast by this irregularity onto your retina, forms the floaters. They usually only block very small portions of your vision.


As you age, vitreous fluid tends to lessen or thicken up. This causes it to exit in strings or clumps instead of a continuous fluid. This is normal with aging and is not usually harmful. When the gel shrinks and pulls on the retina, however, this can require treatment. The retina is the surface on the back of your eye that is responsible for helping you focus. When the fluid pulls on the retina, a tear or complete detachment can occur. This may be noticeable by a surge of floaters in large numbers. Flashes may also accompany this increase. This is a time when your eye doctor needs to be notified immediately.


Sometimes you may see flashing lights of to the side of you visionary field. They last only a second, most of the time. They may, however, be repetitive. These are called Moore’s lightening streaks and are most likely to be seen at night. These are also caused by changes in your vitreous fluid. Pulling on the retina is a common danger with flashes, as well.


Most issues of this sort do not require any treatment. They are usually temporary and harmless. A removal process called a “vitrectomy” can be performed if you are bothered from floaters and flashes on a regular basis or are not tolerating them well. Some of the vitreous fluid. In the case of a retinal detachment, surgery must be done immediately.

Eye complications can be frightening if you do not know what to expect. Floaters and flashes are common occurrences that occur with natural changes in the vitreous fluid. There is treatment available if they bother you regularly. You can also expect some issues as you age. The eye doctor should assist you immediately in the case of a retinal detachment. Pay attention to changes in your vision to stay healthy.

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