You may have heard of eye floaters and eye flashes. But, what exactly are they? Are they something that requires immediate medical attention? Here’s what the professionals at Eye Rx, your provider of quality eyeglass frames and other eye care services, has to say:
What Are Eye Floaters?
Floaters appear as small dots, specks or circles that are floating across your field of vision. They may also come in the form of lines and cobwebs. While they may seem to be in front of your eyes, they are actually inside. Floaters are tiny clumps of the vitreous, the gel-like substance in the middle of your eyes. The shadows of these clumps produce the floating shadows you see.
Your eye doctor explains that the vitreous may start to shrink as you age. As a result, it pulls away from the back of your eye, leading to its formation of clumps and strands. While they are not serious and they usually fade away over time, some may cause serious vision irregularities that may require surgical intervention.
What Are Eye Flashes?
Flashes, on the other hand, appear as flashing lights or lightning streaks in your field of vision. Some even liken them to “stars” that you see after being hit on the head. You may see them when the vitreous pulls or rubs on your retina. It’s possible to see flashes on and off for days, weeks or even months.
Some light flashes may have jagged lines, similar to heat waves, after which, you may develop severe headaches. When this happens, make sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam immediately. You may have migraine headaches, which occur when the blood vessels in your brain go into spasm.
Whether you see eye floaters or flashes, make sure to visit your optometrist as soon as possible. While most occurrences of these are nothing serious, they can also be signs of retinal tears or detachment. If left untreated, a torn or detached retina can lead to vision loss.
For more information about eye floaters and flashes, call us at (301) 761-3814 for Chevy Chase, MD, or (202) 683-7048 for Washington, DC. You may also complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Washington, DC, and nearby areas.