Floaters & Flashes

Iowa Eye Center Ophthalmologist Dr. Hougsdal talks about floaters and flashes.

Floaters and flashes create disturbances in the field of vision that don’t actually exist. Floaters are typically first noticed when looking at a clear sky or a white screen. Flashes may be more obvious in dim lighting. Floaters and flashes are most often a result of the normal aging process but can be a symptom of other issues as well.

Floaters

Floaters are small specs, dots, or lines that are perceived to be in the vision. They’re actually made up of components of the vitreous, which is the jelly that fills up the inside part of the eye. With age, the vitreous changes and becomes more liquid-like. It can start to form specs in the vitreous that create a shadow on the retina.

Flashes

Flashes are bright bursts of light that occur when the vitreous, or jelly-like substance, inside our eyes shrinks with age. It pulls on points where it’s attached to the retina, causing flashes. These flashes can be a normal sign of aging or a symptom of a detached retina. Additionally, some people describe flashes that may be related to a migraine.

When should I see a doctor?

If you are seeing floaters or flashes, call to set up an appointment at Iowa Eye Center today at (319) 362-3937. While there is no treatment available, our experienced ophthalmologists will determine whether your floaters or flashes are a symptom of a more serious eye issue that may need treatment.

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