Floaters look like tiny specks, threads or cobwebs in your visual field, while flashes can appear as flashing lights. Though floaters and flashes are usually harmless, they can sometimes indicate underlying eye problems.
Here’s what you need to know about floaters and flashes from your local eyeglasses provider, Vision Care Plus.
What Causes Floaters and Flashes?
Posterior vitreous detachment usually causes eye floaters. Your vitreous thickens or shrinks as you age, which causes it to become fibrous. These strands cast shadows on your retina, causing floaters. You’re more likely to experience this if you’re nearsighted, have undergone cataract surgery or have had swelling inside the eye.
Flashes happen when the vitreous tugs or rubs on the retina. Flashes normally go away on their own and don’t need to be treated. Some people see light flashes that appear like jagged lines. These can occur in just one or both eyes and may be caused by a migraine.
A migraine headache occurs when you have a headache after seeing light flashes. However, if you only see flashes without experiencing a headache, it’s called an ophthalmic headache. Also, contact lenses don’t affect the occurrence of floaters or flashes because they’re inside the retina.
When You Need to See Your Eye Doctor
An increase or change in floaters and flashes can be a sign of vision loss-causing condition. Posterior vitreous detachment is when the shrinking vitreous tugs and pulls away from the retina. It doesn’t usually cause vision problems for most people.
Posterior vitreous detachment leads to retinal tears in about one in six people. The fluid from the inner eye can enter through the tear and detach the retina from the tissues that provide its nourishment. This is called retinal detachment, an eye condition that can lead to vision loss.
New onset of floaters and flashes, increment vision shading and poor central vision are major signs of retinal detachment. Call your eye doctor immediately if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Early detection and treatment can prevent the condition from escalating.
Visit Vision Care Plus for a complete vision and eye health exam. We are your local provider of high-quality eyeglasses and contact lenses. Call us at (844) 201-5900 or complete our online form. We assist patients in Camrose and Leduc, AB.