Have you noticed black specks or cobweb shapes moving in your field of
vision when looking at a plain surface or background such as a computer
screen or blue sky? You may have even suspected a gnat was flying in front
of your face when you first noticed the small black spots. These harmless,
yet obnoxious specks in your vision are called
Floaters are small pieces of the vitreous gel that fills the inside of
your eye. As we age, the vitreous liquefies and occasionally, pieces of
this gel may break loose and begin floating in your eye. What you see
are not the floaters themselves, but the shadows they cast on your retina.
Movement of the vitreous gel may also cause a pull on the retina, which
results in flashes of light or even seeing “stars.” People
who experience a blow to the head may experience the sensation of
Floaters and flashes are most often harmless, but a sudden onset of multiple
floaters can be an indication of a more serious eye condition, such as
a tear in the retina, or retinal detachment. Should the retina completely
detach from the back of they eye, permanent vision loss may occur.
Do you have floaters or flashes? These are some of the symptoms to look for:
o Seeing small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision.
o Seeing dots, lines or cobwebs.
o Seeing flashes of light or what looks like lightening.
o Seeing stars.
o Seeing jagged lines or “heat waves.”
o Seeing flashes of light followed by a headache or migraine.
Most commonly, floaters are harmless, but Key-Whitman Eye Center recommends
you call your eye doctor immediately or contact Key-Whitman today to
schedule your comprehensive exam
to rule out a retinal detachment and receive immediate treatment if necessary.
If retinal detachment has occurred, eye surgery may be necessary to repair
the detached retina.
Do you have more questions about symptoms or treatment of flashes or floaters?
Ask us in the comments below, or on our