Flashers and Floaters

Image of a human eye.

Many people experience small, dark, cobwebby shapes drifting across their field of vision. These floaters are especially common as people age. Flashes, a similar phenomenon, are quick flickers of light. Both are usually harmless, but, occasionally, can be a sign of serious eye troubles.

Causes

Vitreous humor is a clear gel that fills the rear two-thirds of your eyeballs. With age, vitreous becomes more liquid and can form stringy clumps. Tiny cell clusters cast shadows on your retina. These are what you see when you notice a floater. If you try to look directly at them, they float away. When your eyes stop moving, floaters drift around.

About 25 percent of people have floaters by the time they reach their 60s. The number of people in their 80s who experience floaters increases to about two-thirds. Very nearsighted people are more likely to develop floaters. Floaters are also more common after eye injuries, after cataract surgeries and in people with diabetes.

Symptoms may include:

  • Dark, floating spots in your vision that appear as flecks or knobby, clear strings of floating material
  • Spots that you notice more when looking at a plain background, such as the sky or a blank movie screen
  • Moving spots that you cannot look at directly
  • Spots that come and go from your line of vision, eventually drifting away

Inflammation or bleeding in the eye can also cause floaters. Occasionally, floaters result from a torn retina, which is a serious condition requiring prompt treatment.

Flashes

When tiny vitreous fibers pull on your retinal nerve cells, you may sense a quick flash of light. This might also look like multiple flashes over a wider area. Flashes often occur in conjunction with floaters. If you experience flashes, contact your ophthalmologist. Flashes may be a symptom of retinal detachment.

Managing Floaters and Flashes

In rare cases, floaters are a symptom of a serious problem with the retina. If you have any of the following symptoms, see your eye doctor immediately:

  • Sudden onset of flashes and / or floaters
  • One-sided, gradual shading, like a curtain being drawn across your field of vision
  • Sudden decline in clear, central vision

However, as long as your floaters are not related to retina damage, they are unlikely to be more than a nuisance. In time, they could disappear and become less noticeable, or they might stay and become even more annoying.

You can try this easy, non-surgical way to get temporary relief from floaters: Look up, down, left and right. This may shift the floater out of your field of vision.

Some patients may be suitable candidate for laser surgery to treat benign floaters. Nonetheless, the possible risks of this treatment option should be weighed against the benefits.

Concerned about floaters, flashes or other symptoms? Call us today for a comprehensive vision exam. We can evaluate your eye health, help identify the cause of your floaters and / or flashes and suggest appropriate treatment options, based on your individual anatomical, visual and lifestyle needs.

Request a complimentary eyewear style session today!

Testimonials

  • I have worn contact lenses for years but due to my strong near-sighted prescription with high astigmatism could get neither the comfort nor vision very good in standard gas permeable lenses or in soft lenses. I had reverted back to wearing glasses most of the time until Dr. Krywko recommended the SynergEyes lenses. They work great for me and I can finally wear contacts again! Thank you, Dr. Krywko!

    ...
    Show More - Anna Garity
  • Dr. Candria Kryko is a wonderful OD. I was seen by Dr. Kryko in Scottsdale recently for an eye exam/contact lens fitting. She is extremely pleasant, attentive, and she took her time to give me a thorough exam and answer all of my questions. Dr. Kryko gave me recommendations on contacts and eye drops, as well, she gave me tips on how I can save on some of my contact expenses. She was professional, attentive, took the time to explain what was needed, and was simply nice to be around. I recommend Dr. Kryko. 

    ...
    Show More - Chelsey Kerchansky
  • My entire family have been seeing Dr. Krywko for years. The professionalism, care and focus are over the top. I was told by an optician I would not be a likely candidate for contact lenses. However with Dr. Krywko's patience and wisdom she was able to fit me for contact lenses that work perfectly! I am thrilled..........Plus, I also have the most gorgeous frames (when I do not want to wear my contacts. ) I receive comments every time I wear them, " where did you get your glasses!" Dr. Kryko just received the newest styles......I'm in trouble..........

    ...
    Show More - Trish Nielsen

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday

9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Tuesday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday

12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Thursday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday

7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Saturday

By Appointment Only

Sunday

Closed

Monday
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday
12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thursday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday
7:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday
By Appointment Only
Sunday
Closed

Location

Find us on the map