What are Eye Flashes and Floaters?

The Vitreous

As the eye ages the gel-like fluid inside the eye, better known as the vitreous, will start to shrink and liquefy causing it to move away from the retina. As this process occurs one could experience a flash of light, similar to a lightning streak that occurs in both bright and dim light as well as when the eye is open or closed.

A person could also see black, gray, or translucent floating dots, shapes, or lines that move when they move their eyes. While the floaters can be annoying at first, with time the brain will typically start to ignore them.

What should I do if I experience these symptoms?

While experiencing eye flashes and floaters is very common and can be a normal age-related change, it could also be a warning sign for a retinal tear or detachment. Risk factors for a retinal tear or detachment include but are not limited to nearsightedness, trauma, or family history. If you experience any new or increase in eye flashes and floaters seek care immediately for a dilated eye examination. 

Author
Lindsey Barouh, OD Lindsey Barouh, OD Lindsey Barouh, OD, is a board-certified optometrist at Ophthalmology Physicians & Surgeons, PC, where she treats patients at the practice’s offices in Blue Bell, North Wales, and Hatboro, Pennsylvania. As an optometrist, Dr. Barouh's areas of special interest include routine eye care, such as contact lenses and the management and treatment of various ocular diseases. Like her colleagues, Dr. Barouh is committed to providing compassionate care and comprehensive vision treatment to patients throughout Greater Philadelphia. She treats every patient as an individual, offering them the most personalized care in a warm, welcoming environment.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Swimming and Contact Lenses

It’s summertime and the weather has been scorching hot. It’s the perfect time to head down to the shore, go to a water park, or find a local swimming pool to cool down.

How To Know If Your Child Needs an Eye Exam

Have you ever noticed your child is squinting or holding reading material extremely close to their face? Do they seem to have a short attention span or have difficulty reading? While these observations can indicate a learning difficulty, the solution may

Diabetes and the Eye

How can diabetes affect my eyes? Ocular complications from diabetes are a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in the United States. The longer one has a diagnosis of diabetes and the longer the blood sugar is poorly controlled the higher the

Styes and Chalazions

What are Styes and Chalazions? Styes and Chalazions are lumps that can grow in the eyelid margin. They can look similar, but there are some differences.

Smoking Can Lead to Vision Loss

Smoking has long been known to cause lung cancer and heart disease, but it also can lead to vision loss. How Does Smoking Affect Your Eye Health? Smoking causes changes in the eyes that can lead to eye disease. If you smoke, you are three times as