Have you ever noticed small spots or specks drifting across your vision? Or maybe you’ve experienced bright, camera-like flashes in your vision? If so, you are not alone. These are visual disturbances known as flashes and floaters. Although they are a common eye problem, they can be serious.

What Are Floaters?

Floaters are tiny dots or shapes that appears to float into your field of vision. They may be black, gray, or transparent, and often appear to move when you try to look directly at them. Floaters are generally more visible when looking at a bright and plain background, such as a clear sky or white wall. They can occur as you age due to changes in the jelly-like structure of your eye called the vitreous. For this reason, floaters are very common. In most cases, floaters turn out to be harmless. However, a sudden onset of floaters or an excessive number of them can indicate a more severe underlying eye condition and it is always important to have them evaluated by an eye doctor.

What Are Flashes?

Flashes are often described as seeing “stars” or a bright, white or yellow/green light in your vision. This can occur even with your eyes closed. Flashes are less common than floaters. Flashes occur when the vitreous pulls on the retina, which is the tissue lining the inside of the eye. When it pulls on the retina, it can lead to a retinal tear or detachment. These conditions would require prompt treatment.

Prevention and Treatment:

Flashes and floaters are often not dangerous; however, it is important to have them evaluated. The main risk that comes from having new floaters and/or flashes is the risk for a retinal tear or detachment. You can reduce the risk of these conditions by wearing protective eyewear when engaging in sports and avoiding trauma to the eyes. If you notice a sudden onset of new floaters and/or flashes, a sudden increase in number of floaters and/or flashes, or a “curtain” over your vision, it is important to contact us. Early detection and treatment of underlying eye conditions can save your vision and prevent permanent eye damage.

At The Eye Care Center, regular eye exams are encouraged to help in early detection and management of any underlying eye conditions that may lead to flashes and floaters. Always prioritize taking care of your eyes, and don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you have any concerns.

Have other questions? Contact The Eye Care Center today. There are locations in Canandaigua, Geneva, and Macedon. Simply call 585-394-2020. Or, send an email to our team by using the secure contact page.