Floaters and Flashes: Common Symptoms and Causes

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Floaters and flashes are common visual disturbances that can occur at any age. Although they are typically harmless, they can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying condition. If you experience floaters or flashes, it’s important to contact an eye doctor for an evaluation.

Floaters are tiny specks, dots, lines, or cobweb-like shapes that drift across your field of vision. They are usually caused by small clumps of gel within the vitreous, the clear fluid that fills the inside of your eye. As you age, the vitreous can shrink or pull away from the retina, causing these clumps to cast shadows on the retina, which you perceive as floaters.

Flashes are brief streaks of light that appear in your field of vision. They are usually harmless and caused by the same vitreous changes that create floaters. However, if you suddenly experience a flurry of new floaters, especially if they are accompanied by flashes or a loss of peripheral vision, it could be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment, which requires immediate medical attention.

Other causes of floaters and flashes include:

1. Migraine headaches: Some people experience visual disturbances like floaters and flashes during a migraine headache.

2. Posterior vitreous detachment: This occurs when the vitreous pulls away from the retina. It’s a normal part of aging but can sometimes cause floaters and flashes.

3. Retinal detachment: This occurs when the retina is pulled away from its normal position, causing vision loss. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

4. Eye inflammation: Inflammation of the eye (uveitis) can cause floaters and flashes, along with other symptoms like redness, pain, and sensitivity to light.

If you experience floaters or flashes, it’s important to see an eye doctor for an evaluation. Dr. Dolan at 2020 Vision in Rochester Hills MI can help diagnose and treat your symptoms. Call 248 375 0040 to schedule an appointment today. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can protect your vision and maintain your eye health.

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