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Floaters | Flashes of Light

Click here to find out the American Academy of Ophthalmology's view on floaters and flashes.

As we get older, vitreous, the jelly that fills the back of the eye, goes through some changes: 

  • It shrinks and forms clumps and veils that we see as new floaters. They are best seen in a blue sky background. Often, within a few months, they disappear or our brain learns to ignore them. But, if your floaters bother you too much, they can be removed with laser in the office or surgery in the operating room. Floaters are not harmful to the eye but they can be a clue to a recent retinal tear.

  • As the vitreous shrinks, it separates from the the retina. Occasionally, it pulls on the retina as it separates from it and creates the perception of flashes of light in the peripheral vision similar to lightning streaks or shooting stars.

  • If the vitreous pulls too hard on the retina it can tear the retina. If a retinal tear is diagnosed early, it can be treated in the office by laser retinopexy to prevent a retinal detachment and potentially permanent vision loss.

If you have new floaters or flashes of light, contact us immediately to make an appointment for a retina exam.

Floaters & Flashes and Retinal Detachment

Floaters & Flashes and Retinal Detachment

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