You may have occasionally seen little specks floating across your vision. They can be seen easily when staring at a blank surface, like a wall. These specks may seem like they are on the surface of the eye, but they are actually inside. They are called floaters and are actually tiny clumps of cells or material inside the clear, gel-like fluid inside of the eye called the vitreous. These clumps of cells inside the cast a shadow onto the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye responsible for turning light into brain signals. While these are common and can happen at any age, they can become more prominent as you age. While floaters themselves are no threat to the health of the eye, they can be annoying and distracting. It is recommended to see an eye doctor if you experience a sudden development of new floaters, as this can be a sign of a bigger issue.
Flashes also become more common as we age, and can be seen as “flashes” of light across the vision. These flashes can look like flashing lights or “lightening strikes”. This happens when the vitreous gel starts to shrink and pull away from the interior of the eye. While flashes by themselves are normal, it is important to see an eye doctor if you experience them. Flashes can be a sign of retinal tears or detachment, which is an emergency and requires immediate medical attention to save vision.
While floaters and flashes are usually harmless, they can be a symptom of an underlying condition. The treatment for flashes and floaters depends on the underlying condition. There is no specific treatment for the separation of the vitreous gel from the retina, although laser or freezing therapy or surgery can be required for retinal tears.
If you have been dealing with flashes and floaters and want to see what you can do about them, call Takle Eye Group today. Remember to always see one of our doctors here at Takle Eye Group if you notice new floaters, even if you have had floaters for years.