Flashes and Floaters

What It's Like Seeing Floaters

What Are Flashes/Floaters?

Floaters are dots, strands, webs or irregular shapes in the field of vision that move around as we move our eyes. They commonly occur as a result of age-related changes to the jelly of the eye, the vitreous. When we are born, the vitreous is firmly attached to the retina and is a thick substance without much movement. As we age, the vitreous becomes thinner and more watery and pulls away from the retina to cause little shadows we see as floaters. These spots are most visible when looking at a white or bright background.

Flashes may accompany floaters when they first develop as the vitreous is applying pressure to the retina when it pulls away.

In most cases, flashes and floaters are of no consequence and do not require treatment. Rarely though, a small hole or tear develops in the retina as the vitreous is pulling away. This can result in a retinal detachment. A dilated examination is necessary with new floaters or flashes to ensure no further treatment is necessary.