What Are Flashes And Floaters?
Some patients experience the visual sensation of flashes or eye floaters in their vision. This is the result of small pieces of the vitreous (clear gel) clumping up. As these small clumps move, they produce shadows on the retina, causing you to see those floaters. Once those clumps settle down in the retina, you start to see the flashes, which some describe as "seeing stars." If you've experienced one or both of these, call Eye Specialists of Napa Valley to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled ophthalmologists.
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What Causes Eye Floaters and Flashes?
If you experience eye flashes or floaters in your vision, you may wonder what's causing them. While the causes of eye floaters and flashes can range from person to person, a few reasons include:
Inflammation in the back of the eye caused by infection, an autoimmune condition, or inflammatory disease.
Age-related changes where a jelly-like substance called vitreous (that assists your eye, so it keeps its round shape) changes, causing clumps and strings to form and block light from passing in the eye.
A torn retina that happens when the inner lining of the eye pulls away from its normal position.
Eye bleeding, caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, or retinal tears and detachments.
Additionally, it's important to know the risk factors for eye floaters and flashes. Some risk factors include:
- Being over 50 years of age
- Having a recent eye injury
- Cataract surgery complications
- Being nearsighted
- Recent eye inflammation
- Diabetes complications
- Looking at bright lights
- Rubbing the eyes
Contact our team if you're looking for reliable eye floater treatment in Napa, CA. We'll schedule a consultation and find the optimal solution for you.
What Are the Symptoms of Floaters and Flashes?
Floaters and flashes commonly occur in individuals as they age. Although not all floaters and flashes are serious, an eye exam should still be performed by an ophthalmologist to ensure the retina has not been damaged. Some of the signs you should be seen by an ophthalmologist include:
- Sudden flashes of light, especially if the flashes are ongoing
- A new, large floater or groups of floaters develop
- Loss of side vision
- Shaded or darkened vision
What Can I Expect from Treatment for Flashes And Floaters?
Most people will experience floaters in vision at some point in their lives. Some can be harmless and improve over time, while others can be a sign of retinal tear, detachment, or other eye conditions. You should visit Eye Specialists of Napa Valley as soon as possible if you notice the onset of new eye floaters, particularly if you experience associated flashes of light. Urgent evaluation and eye floater treatment is needed if you see a shadow in your peripheral vision or notice a gray “curtain” covering part of your vision. We can check your eyes and check for retinal damage or other diseases of the eye. If a retinal tear is found, urgent in-office laser treatment may be necessary to prevent retinal detachment. Depending on the extent of detachment, sometimes retinal surgery is needed. If the floaters themselves are not improving over time and impacting your quality of life, we can consider laser vitreolysis. This form of painless laser surgery projects a beam of light into the pupil to break apart the floaters.
Eye floaters and flashes FAQ
Do floaters in vision hurt?
No, these floaters and eye flashes don't hurt. They should only be an annoyance that you notice in your vision. If you have any pain in your eye, you should schedule an appointment with our eye doctors as soon as possible so that we can provide treatment.
Are eye floaters dangerous?
In general, eye floaters are not dangerous. They can occur as a result of conditions like nearsightedness. However, it is better to be safe than sorry and have floaters and eye flashes checked. They can mean more serious issues are present like an injury, infection, and retinal detachment.
How do I know when to see an eye doctor for my eye flashes?
If you notice a dramatic increase in your eye flashes, or it is a new occurrence that you haven't experienced before, it is important to see one of our eye specialists in Napa Valley, CA, as soon as possible. Comprehensive exams at least once a year can also give your doctor a — so we understand when something has changed.
Are eye floaters permanent?
Eye floater treatment can help decrease the floaters, but they are permanent. You may see them more on a clear, bright day. But in general, they won't be extremely bothersome. Laser procedures can be completed to lessen the appearance if it is extremely bothersome. For more information, contact our eye specialists.
Freedom from Flashes And Floaters
Eye flashes and floaters can be an annoying condition that interferes with your sight. Although they generally fade over time, it is important to have them evaluated because they are a leading sign of retinal tear or detachment. At Eye Specialists of Napa Valley, we can evaluate your eye(s) and determine if these floaters and flashes need to be addressed. For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified doctors, contact our Napa, CA, ophthalmology office today.