Flashes and floaters are related to the clear vitreous gel inside your eye. Over time, the vitreous can clump, thicken or shrink within the eye, leading to interruptions in your vision. These conditions are occurring inside your eye.
- Flashes: vitreous gel rubs against your retina or causes a tear in your retina
- Floaters: vitreous gel clumps or forms strands that cause shadows to move across your field of vision
Floaters are different from eye gunk that you may clean out of your eyes each morning or throughout the day.
Symptoms of Flashes & Floaters
The symptoms of flashes and floaters can come and go.
- Dots, lines or cobwebs in your vision
- Sudden flashes of light, like seeing stars
- Disturbance in peripheral vision
- Dark shadow over your vision
Risk Factors for Flashes & Floaters
- Previous cataract surgery
- Inflammation within the eye
- Eye trauma
- Migraine headaches
Treatment for Flashes & Floaters
These are not typically serious vision problems that require treatment. However, if you experience an abundance of these symptoms, especially all at once, schedule an eye exam right away. It is important to have a doctor monitor your condition to ensure there is no vitreous detachment, retina tear or full retinal detachment. This would signify a medical emergency. A retinal detachment may be treated in any number of ways:
- Vitrectomy: the vitreous gel in the eye is drained and replaced with a gas bubble to reduce retinal pulling due to the changes in vitreous gel
- Pneumatic retinopexy: a gas bubble is injected into the vitreous gel to push the tear into proper position on the retinal wall
- Scleral buckle: a flexible silicone band is placed around the eye to relieve pressure caused by the shrinking and contracting of the vitreous gel
- Retina laser surgery: the retina is connected back in proper position using tiny burns
- Cryopexy: intense cold is applied to the retinal tear that produces a scar to reattach the retina
If you are experiencing any vision changes, contact our retina doctors in Las Vegas to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to prevent permanent vision loss.