Are Flashes and Floaters Normal?

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Do you ever see flashes of light? Have you ever noticed things floating through your vision?

Experiencing flashes and floaters is normal and part of the aging process. Keep reading to learn more about flashes and floaters, as well as the causes and symptoms of them!

What are floaters?

Floaters are tiny dots, circles, lines, or other shapes that appear in your vision. They appear like they are in front of your eye, but they are actually floating inside of it.

Floaters are small groupings of cells inside the fluid in your eye. You are seeing the shadow of the clumps.

As we age, the fluid thickens or shrinks. Floaters occur when the fluid separates from the back of the eye. They are not serious and usually go away over time.

What are flashes?

Flashes look like a streak of light or flashes of light that you see. For some, it is like seeing “stars” when you hit your head.

You could see these flashes on and off for a period of time, sometimes for weeks or months. You experience flashes when the fluid in your eye pulls or rubs your retina. As you age, it is common to occasionally see flashes.

What causes floaters and flashes?

As we age, the consistency of the fluid in our eyes changes. It thickens, shrinks, and can clump up. These clumps can create floaters.

When the fluid shrinks, it can stay partially attached to the retina. It can pull on it. This can cause flashes of light to appear.

Sometimes, flashes and floaters are caused by injuries, migraines or retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is a very serious condition.

Some of the symptoms are shadows in your peripheral vision. You may also see an increase in floaters and flashes or see a “grey curtain” over part of your vision.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to go to your eye care professional immediately.

What are the symptoms of floaters and flashes?

Some symptoms of floaters are seeing black shapes or lines. You may also see small shapes that disappear very quickly.

Symptoms of flashes are seeing sudden bursts of light. You may experience these bursts in one or more areas of the eye.

Who do flashes and floaters affect?

For the most part, flashes and floaters are very common in older people. They are also more common in people who are nearsighted and those who have had eye surgery.

How are flashes and floaters treated?

Usually, flashes calm down within a few months and do not need treatment. Floaters can last for a while, but you should be able to ignore them.

For most, there’s no treatment required for either of these conditions.

When should you see an eye doctor?

If you start experiencing a lot of floaters and flashes, you should see a professional. Usually, they are symptoms of minor issues.

Sometimes they can mean that a retinal tear is in progress, leading to a retinal detachment. This is a medical emergency, but it is quickly fixed with laser surgery.

Flashes and floaters are normal as we age. They can also be symptoms of more severe conditions.

Experiencing flashes and floaters? Wondering if it’s something that you should get checked out? Schedule an appointment at Stahl Eyecare Experts in Garden City, NY today!

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Phone: 212.689.7676
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Phone: 631.952.8000
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