Flashes and Floaters

What Are Flashes and Floaters?


You may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. While these objects appear to be floating in front of your eye, they are actually floating inside it. These are called floaters.

Floaters are actually tiny clumps of cells or material inside the vitreous, the clear, gel-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky.

Flashers may be caused by the vitreous gel in the eye pulling on the retina. This may cause flashing lights or streaks of light to appear in your vision.

It is common to observe small arc-like momentary flashes of light in the peripheral vision during vitreous separation. The vitreous pulls on the retina which makes one think they are seeing a light but it is caused by movement of the retina. Sometime the flashes persist for a few months until the vitreous is finished separating.

While flashes are rarely associated with serious retinal problems, They should always be evaluated by an eye exam.

Diagnosing Flashes and Floaters

Flashes & Floaters

Most of the time floaters and flashers are harmless and are a result of the natural aging process in the eye. Sometimes they are a warning sign of a more serious problem.

The appearance of floaters and flashes may be alarming, especially if they develop very suddenly. You should seek care if you notice the following symptoms, especially if you are over 45 years of age, have had an injury to your eyes or head, or if you have substantial nearsightedness:

  •  A sudden increase in size and number of floaters
  • A sudden appearance of flashes
  • Having a shadow or curtain appear in the periphery (side) of your field of vision
  • Seeing a gray curtain moving across your field of vision
  • Having a sudden decrease in your vision

A DOCS we will conduct a complete eye exam to determine the severity of these floaters and flashers. We will use specialized diagnostic equipment to determine the severity of the condition and diagnose any changes to the Retina.