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Flashes & Floaters

What are flashes & floaters?

Flashes of light can appear in our vision when the jelly inside the eye shrinks and tugs on the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. This is different from visual disturbances caused by migraine.

Floaters are dark shapes or spots that can appear as ‘lines’ or ‘cobwebs’ in our vision. They are normally caused by clumping of cells in the clear jelly inside the eye casting shadows on the retina (the light-sensitive layer at the back).

People with healthy eyes can often see flashes or floaters. They are normally harmless and somewhat common.

However, sometimes they can be a sign of a retinal detachment, a sight threatening eye condition requiring immediate attention. 

If you notice or are worried about any of the following, contact your optometrist straight away:

  • A sudden increase of floaters & flashing lights
  • A black shadow or veil in your vision
  • A sudden reduction or change in vision
  • Any of the above following a head injury or blow to the eye

What is a retinal detachment?

The retina is the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye which receives images or signals and sends them to the brain.

A retinal detachment is when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye. This is a serious eye condition that can cause sight loss. 

If caught on time, a retinal detachment can be treated with laser or in some cases surgery is required in order to restore vision.

Risk factors for retinal detachment

Some people are at a higher risk of developing a retinal detachment. These are people who:

  • are short-sighted 
  • have had an eye injury or surgery, 
  • have had a previous retinal detachment,
  • are aged 55 or over,
  • have certain underlying eye disease or general health conditions.

For more information or if you are concerned about your eyes contact us or BOOK NOW.