• Refractive Errors

What is a Floater?

A floater may be seen as dots, lines, cobwebs, or spiders and are most often noticed when reading, looking at a blank wall or gazing at a clear sky. They are usually a result of the aging process and are especially common in nearsighted people, in people who have suffered eye injuries, and after eye surgery. A floater is actually a small clump of gel that forms in the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid which fills the cavity inside the eye.

How are Floaters treated?

Although annoying, floaters are usually not vision threatening and do not require treatment. Often floaters diminish and become less bothersome over time. If a floater appears directly in the line of the vision, moving the eye around will often help. Looking up and down or back and forth will often allow the floater to move out of the way. In cases where floaters do indicate a more serious condition, lasers can be used to prevent vision loss.

What are Flashes?

Flashes are similar to the sensation of "seeing stars" when one is hit on the head. They are most often noticed at night or in a dark room and appear as flashing light or lightning streaks in the field of vision, although no light is actually flashing. They can also occur in association with migraine headaches, distorting central vision for ten to twenty minutes and appear as jagged lined of "heat waves" in both eyes.

How are Flashes treated?

Similar to floaters, flashes do not require treatment and will eventually stop. However, they may indicate retinal detachment, which needs immediate medical treatment.

Although both floaters and flashes are usually not considered serious vision problems, you should have a complete eye examination to determine their importance. If you are experiencing these or other vision problems, contact us for a complete eye examination.

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