Flashes are more threatening than floaters, since they signal an irritation of the retina from pulling, tearing, inflammation, or infection.
When the retina is stimulated, the brain sees it as light since it only has photoreceptors.
A moderate pull can progress to a retinal tear, which can advance to retinal detachment — a medical emergency. Torn or removed retinas should be quickly repaired by laser surgery or another treatment to protect vision.
What Are Flashes in Your Eye?
When we are young, the gel inside your eye (the vitreous) is strongly connected to the back of your eye.
As we grow older, the vitreous gel naturally becomes more liquid and collapses away from the retina. This is called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). It is widespread and more likely to happen as you age. As the vitreous pulls away from your retina, you may see this as a flash of light in one or both eyes, like little sparkles, lightning or fireworks. The flashes tend to be in the extreme corners of your vision and come and go; however, do not obscure any part of your vision. They are various from the shimmering or zig-zag lines that may be part of a migraine. Very sometimes, flashes can be an indication of retinal detachment, which should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Floaters and Your Eyes
Floaters are little dark or transparent dots or hairs or something that appears like a hair or little pieces of a cobweb that drift in the vitreous gel inside your eye. They are formed when the vitreous, which is the jelly inside your eye, separates into watery fluid and wavy collagen fibers. They appear to float in front of your eyes and move when you attempt to look at them. They are very common and are usually harmless.
Who is Affected by Flashes and Floaters?
Flashes and floaters are more common in older individuals, people who are short-sighted and in people who have had eye surgery.
Signs and Symptoms
Flashes appear as little shimmers, lightning or fireworks typically in the extreme corners of your vision. They might reoccur. Floaters are more visible in intense light, or if you are looking at a plain intense background such as a cloudless sky or white wall.
Typically, the symptoms are nothing to worry about, and you can get used to them. Nevertheless, if you have any of the following symptoms, you ought to call your optometrist as quickly as possible:
- an unexpected boost in floaters, particularly if you likewise see flashing lights in the one of your eye
- a new, large, floater
- a change in floaters or flashing lights after you have had a direct blow to your eye
- a shadow or cobweb is spreading throughout the vision of one of your eyes.
If you can’t call your optometrist, you need to get urgent attention, ideally from an eye casualty department at the hospital. If you can not get to an eye casualty, you ought to go to a hospital A&E department.
How Do You Treat Flashes and Floaters?
Flashes usually settle down after a few months without treatment. Floaters may be long enduring, but you tend to ignore them after a while. There is typically no treatment needed for these conditions.
How to Take Care of Your Eyes
Whether you have flashers or floaters, you can assist protect your eyes. Experts say:
Consume a balanced diet to be sure you are getting the nutrients your body needs to keep your eyes healthy.
Quit cigarette smoking (a substantial danger aspect for macular degeneration, a common cause of loss of sight in the elderly).
Wear sunglasses when in intense light for an extended time to protect versus UV light exposure.