Flashes and Floaters

What are flashes and floaters?

Floaters are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the fluid inside your eye that become noticeable when they move within the line of sight. They may also appear with flashes of light.

Does everyone have floaters?

Almost everyone sees a few spots at one time or another. They can occur more frequently and become more noticeable as you grow older. However, if you notice a sudden change in the number or size of the spots, you should contact us right away for an examination to be sure they are not the result of a more serious problem.

What causes floaters?

The inner part of your eye is filled with a clear, jelly-like fluid known as the vitreous. Occasionally, small flecks of protein and other matter become trapped during the formation of the eye before birth and remain in the vitreous body. Floaters may also be caused by the age-related deterioration of the eye fluid or its surrounding parts, or by certain injuries or eye diseases.

What do floaters look like?

Floaters are generally translucent specks of various shapes and sizes. They may also appear as threadlike strands or cobwebs within the eye. Since they are within the eye, they move as the eye moves and often seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.

Can these floaters cause blindness?

Most spots are normal and are not a cause of blindness. Sometimes, spots can be indications of more serious problems such as a retinal tear or detachment. If you have a sudden onset of flashes and floaters, you should have a comprehensive vision examination to determine the cause.