Flashes and Floaters
What Are Floaters?
A Floater is a small fleck or cloud moving in your field of vision. You see them often when you look at plain surfaces, like a blank wall, sometimes while reading.
Floaters are harmless and fade over time or become less bothersome, requiring no treatment.
Are Floaters Serious?
Floaters can be serious when they are accompanied by:
- Sudden flashes of lights
- Loss of vision; may only be partial
- New floaters suddenly appear
*If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, call your Ophthalmologist.
What Causes Floaters?
Floaters can appear when the vitreous gel starts to degenerate or condense, forming clusters or strings inside the eye. If the vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, it is called posterior vitreous detachment; occasionally this can lead to or be associated with a retinal detachment.
This is more common in people who:
- are nearsighted
- have undergone cataract surgery
- have had a YAG laser
- have had inflammation inside the eye
What is a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?
This is when the blood vessels in the eye are ruptured or broken. Essentially, it is a bruise on the eye. Whereas a bruise on the skin appears black and blue, on the eye it appears bright red. Later on, as the eye is healing, it may turn yellow or green like a typical skin bruise.
Is a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Serious?
No, it is not serious.
Although it may have an alarming or frightful appearance, they are painless and harmless.
What Caused My Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?
Causes may include but are not limited to:
- Strenuous exercise
- Touching the eye
- Blood Thinner medication (making the eye more susceptible to increased pressure)
What Is A Retinal Detachment?
A retinal detachment is when part or all of the retina becomes separated from its supporting tissues, causing a blind spot or shade over the vision to develop. Flashes of lights, new floaters, and loss of peripheral vision are the classic warning signs of a detached retina.
Is A Retinal Detachment Serious?
YES. Not receiving treatment can cause irreversible effects.
Call your ophthalmologist IMMEDIATLY if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Flashes of light.
- Sudden dramatic increase in the number of floaters.
- A dense shadow that starts in the peripheral vision and slowly moves towards the central vision.
- Veil or curtain over the field of vision.
- Straight lines that suddenly appear curved or bent.