Eye Floaters and Flashers: Should I Be Concerned?

Eye floaters are specks, flecks, spots and cobwebs that appear in your field of vision. In addition, eye flashers are flickers of light or the appearance of lightning bolts that are not there. Both are quite common in fact 7 out of 10 people have experienced the phenomenon of eye flashers and floaters. And while in most cases eye floaters and flashers are harmless, they can be a symptom of a severe eye condition.

What causes eye floaters and flashers?

The eyes is filled with vitreous gel which helps the eye keep its shape and also allows light to pass through it. When we’re young the gel is liquid and fluid, but as we age, the gel begins to thicken. As the gel thickens, particles can become trapped inside of the gel, casting shadows as light passes through the eye. These shadows move as the gel moves around in the eye, which gives the appearance of floating. Eye floaters are more visible if you stare at a light, clean backgrounds such as a white wall or an overcast sky.

When the Gel shrinks, it pulls on the Retina and Causes Blood Vessels to Burst.

This happens if there’s a small Hemorrhage in the eye and can be seen as black dots, a cloud of gnats or smoke. These floaters will dissipate when the blood is reabsorbed but can last for several months.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)

This happens when the vitreous gel actually pulled away from the retina. The debris that is forms because of the dislodgement can be seen as floating specks and flecks.

Eye flashers are caused by the retina being physically touched or tugged and an electrical impulse being created and then seen as a flash or a bolt of light.

When should I be concerned?

In most cases eye floaters and flashers are not dangerous and will dissipate over time. However, a sudden onset of a high concentration of floaters and flashers together can be an indication of a retinal tear or detachment, which is a medical emergency. When the retina is dislodged from the inner eye, there may be a small tear or hole which may cause the vitreous gel to enter the opening and push the retina further away. If left untreated, it can cause significant and permanent vision loss. Other symptoms that may occur in the event of retinal detachment are the loss of peripheral vision, the appearance of a shadow moving toward the middle of the eye and vision becoming blurry and distorted. Surgery is the only treatment for retinal detachment and if you experience any of these symptoms you should see an eye doctor immediately. The sooner you seek medical attention, the more likely more likely it is your vision will be saved.

How are they treated?

In most cases eye floaters and flashers do not require any further treatment. However, in some instances, they can be so annoying that medical treatment is warranted. The vitreous gel can be replaced by a saline solution this procedure is called a vitrectomy. However, over most patients find that the need to rid themselves of eye floaters and flashers. Laser vitreolysis is a new, safer and highly effective treatment for floaters and flashers.

Now that you have more information about eye floaters and flashers hopefully it helps you decide whether you need to reach out to an Eye Care Professional. If you have further questions about eye floaters and flashers, please contact us soon. And schedule a consultation visit laserforeyes.com.