Floaters Or Flashes – A Close Look At Symptoms

Woman looking up at the skyHave 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 eye floaters.

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 eye flashes.

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:

  • Seeing small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision.
  • Seeing dots, lines or cobwebs.
  • Seeing flashes of light or what looks like lightening.
  • Seeing stars.
  • Seeing jagged lines or “heat waves.”
  • 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 Facebook Page!