What Causes Flashes?
A flash is a quick burst or streak of light in your visual field, similar to a camera flash. Flashes often occur when you close your eyes or shift your vision quickly. Flashes are a result of the vitreous, which is a gel-like substance in the middle of your eye, pulling away from the retina, which is a layer of nerves in the back of your eye. This can happen as part of the aging process, which can cause the vitreous to thin and detach from the retina. For people who experience migraine headaches, flashes can occur at the beginning of a migraine.
What Causes Floaters?
Floaters appear as dark specks, dots, or strands in your field of vision. They are more noticeable when looking at solid colors in bright light, such as the daytime sky. Floaters are the result of clumps of cells or collagen fibers in the vitreous.
Floaters are rarely cause for concern unless they develop suddenly or interfere with vision. While flashes and floaters are commonly caused by the natural aging process, they may be the result of an underlying issue. Potential causes of flashes and floaters include:
- Retinal tear or detachment
- Ocular tumor
- Ocular trauma or injury
Diagnosing Flashes and Floaters
If you are bothered by flashes or floaters, you can discuss them with your eye doctor at your next eye exam. If you experience a sudden occurrence or increase in flashes or floaters, you should schedule an appointment right away. Your eye doctor can dilate your eyes in order to examine your retina to determine if there is an underlying cause of your flashes and floaters.
Treatment of Flashes and Floaters
Many people do not require any treatment for flashes and floaters. However, it is important to have regular eye examinations and discuss any visual disturbances with your eye doctor. If your flashes or floaters indicate a retinal tear or present any risk to your eye health, your eye doctor can create a treatment plan to protect your vision. If needed, surgery can be performed to treat flashes and floaters. This procedure is called a vitrectomy and it involves removing and replacing the vitreous gel of the eye.
Contact CVP Physicians Dayton
The experienced eye doctors of CVP Physicians Dayton are dedicated to caring for your vision. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule your appointment.
Real Patient Reviews
Great, very friendly, no problems on check-in. [I] had 2 eye surgeries [and] would recommend them to all, back again, have had no problems. – Bonnie D.
1 Cleveland Clinic. Flashes and Floaters in Your Eyes: When to See the Doctor. Available: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/flashes-and-floaters-in-your-eyes-when-to-see-the-doctor/ Accessed June 9, 2020.