Floaters and Flashes

Floaters in the Sky

Do you see floaters or sudden flashes of light? If you are noticing new floaters or more of them, or if you see quick streaks or flashes of light, you may have a more serious underlying condition.

Through a dilated eye exam, one of our retina specialists can determine the cause of your symptoms and advise you about your treatment options.

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Moore Eye Institute’s Dr. Leonard Ginsburg, Dr. Hilary Brader, and Dr. Deepika Malik are expert retina specialists who help patients with flashes and floaters preserve and make the most of their precious vision.

What are Floaters?

Floaters are small specks or clouds appearing in the field of vision. They may appear as circles, dots, lines, clouds or cobwebs, but they are actually tiny materials inside the vitreous, the clear gel inside the eye.

What are Flashes?

Flashes appear as flashing lights or lightening streaks in the field of vision. They are the eyes’ way of illustrating pain, like saying “ouch!” Flashes often occur when the vitreous pulls on the retina, the back wall of the eye.

Causes of Flashes and Floaters

Flashes and floaters are common with age as the vitreous changes. Most are harmless and almost everyone sees a flash or floater at some point.

Sometimes floaters and flashes can signal more serious conditions such as a vitreous or retinal detachment.

When the vitreous pulls away from the back wall of the eye a vitreous detachment occurs. A retinal tear or detachment occurs when the vitreous gel shrinks and pulls away from the retina.

Both conditions are treatable, but you must visit your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Sudden increase in the size and number of floaters
  • Sudden appearance of flashes
  • A shadow or curtain appearing in periphery vision
  • A curtain moving across the field of vision
  • A sudden, noticeable decrease in vision

Treatment Options

Most floaters are harmless and fade over time, or you may grow accustomed to them. If your floaters are bothersome, Moore can remove them.

An in-office laser procedure can be performed to disintegrate the floater or solder the vitreous back to the retina. Moore was among the first in Pennsylvania to perform this procedure.

In other cases, vitrectomy surgery can be performed. A surgeon, using very small instruments, removes the vitreous jelly and replaces it with silicon oil or a gas substitute. After this complicated surgery, it is important to carefully follow all post-operative instructions.

Schedule an appointment today and Moore’s team of gifted retina surgeons can discuss every option with you.

Learn more about flashes and floaters and their treatment options.

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