Flashes and floaters

Flashes

 

The cause behind eye flashes is light entering your eye which stimulates the retina. This produces an electrical impulse, the brain interprets this impulse as light or some type of image.

 

When the retina is tugged, torn or detached from the back of the eye, a flash or flicker of light commonly is noticed. Depending on the extent of the tear or detachment, these flashes of light might be short-lived or continue indefinitely until the retina is repaired.

 

Flashes (photopsia) also may occur after a blow to the head, often called "seeing stars."

Some people experience flashes of light that appear as jagged lines or "heat waves" in both eyes, often lasting 10-20 minutes. These types of flashes are usually caused by a spasm of blood vessels in the brain, which is called a Migraine.

 


 

Floaters

 

Eye floaters are those tiny spots, specks, flecks and "cobwebs" that drift aimlessly around in your field of vision. While annoying, ordinary eye floaters and spots are very common and usually aren't cause for alarm.

 

If you see a shower of floaters and spots, sometimes accompanied by light flashes, you should seek medical attention immediately.


Clumps occur when the vitreous gel begins to liquefy or shrink, usually with aging, and detaches from the retina.

For some people, floaters are clumpy; for others, they're stringy. They may be light or dark. What you see is actually the shadows cast by clumps of vitreous gel when light shines past them onto the retina.
 

The sudden appearance of these symptoms could mean that the vitreous is pulling away from your retina or that the retina itself is becoming dislodged from the inner back of the eye that contains blood, nutrients and oxygen vital to healthy function.

 

To learn more about flashes and floaters you can download our leaflet here