What are Floaters and Flashes?

Black spots floating in a person’s field of vision can be disconcerting at times, however, most people at some point experience this symptom. These spots often last only a short time, though some can last for a longer duration.

Flahes are bright arcs or points of light that flash in a person’s field of vision, even when the eyes are closed. These flashes are typically in one eye. These flashes often represent a mechanical tug on the back part of the eye (The Retina) by the vitreous, which is the gelatinous material in the back of the eye. Both floaters and flashes are often harmless symptoms, particularly of aging eyes; however, they can be the first symptoms of a serious eye condition such as retinal tears or retinal detachments.

Is this serious?

Because flashes of light or a new set of floaters in the eye can indicate a retinal detachment or tear, it is necessary to be evaluated as soon as possible by and eye care professional. Treatment options for Flashes, Floaters These symptoms often require no treatment and may be the result of a natural part of aging of the back of the eye. However, If a serious condition is the culprit of these symptoms, such as a retinal tear, a small in office laser can be used to “spot weld” the tear back into place. It is important to diagnose this condition early, because untreated retinal tears and detachments have a high risk of compromising useful vision in the affected eye. The longer treatment is delayed, the worse a person’s prognosis will be.