While they may not be painful or seriously impair your vision on their own, both flashes and floaters can be indicative of more severe underlying eye diseases. If you are experiencing either of these conditions for the first time, then it’s imperative that you arrange a comprehensive eye exam with one of our eye doctors so we can evaluate exactly what is going on.
These are small, dark flecks which can move around in your field of vision. They can be irritating but usually do not cause any harm on their own.
Over time, the vitreous gel in your eyeball develops more of a liquid consistency with small protein particles in the mix. These can cast shadows on the retina, hence the dark flecks you see in your visual field.
If you notice floaters for the first time, arrange an appointment so we can evaluate your overall eye health with an exam. Many people live with floaters and have no other underlying illness to worry about. However, if you notice a marked increase in the size, number or activity of your floaters, please schedule an appointment as soon as possible: this could indicate an associate, developing illness.
These are small patches of white light which sit “in front” of your eyes, interrupting your visual field. You know the old saying about “seeing stars”? Those are flashes.
These are not a natural development (unlike floaters) and are caused by some sort of stimulus which pulls on the retina. Since the retina is responsible for taking the light input to the eye and converting it to useful electrical signals for the brain (via the optic nerve), any problems with the retina manifest with visible light.
Anything tugging at your retina is bad news. If you experience flashes – especially after head trauma – you must arrange an appointment as soon as possible for a thorough eye health check. Serious vision-threatening conditions – such as impending retinal detachment – could be causing the flashes, so it is imperative than an expert does a full assessment.