Flashes and Floaters

If you have noticed black spots moving around your vision like flying insects, welcome to the world of floaters.

What are floaters?

The middle and back part of the eye is filled with a jelly-like substance called vitreous. Over time, the vitreous becomes more liquefied, and eventually the back part of the vitreous can pull away from the retina layer that lines the back of the eye. This event is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), and can happen suddenly. A PVD can lead to sudden noticeable floaters in the vision. Sometimes flashes of light (like lightening bolts) can also occur.


 


Are new floaters or flashes important?

As a PVD develops, the vitreous can tug on the retina and occasionally tear the retina; a retinal tear can subsequently lead to a retinal detachment and loss of vision. Therefore, any new onset of floaters or flashes of light should be immediately evaluated by an eye doctor to ensure that the retina is not affected.

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