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Eye Floaters and Flashes - Harmless or Serious Eye Symptoms?
April 10, 2018
Hello

Eye Floaters and Flashes

Harmless or Serious Eye Symptoms?

A recent phone call from a friend had me wondering why she was home when she was suppose to be off on a trip. When I asked why she hadn't left for her vacation, she said it was because she had an unexpected and urgent appointment with her eye doctor. She was experiencing some flashes and floaters that would come and go, mostly in her left eye but also some of the same symptoms in in her right eye.

Floaters and flashes, are they a harmless and normal part of the aging process or a sign of a serious eye condition like a detached retina?

The physican performed a thorough eye exam for my friend, dilating the pupils. Pupil dilation is necessary to get a good look at the retina to determine if there is any retinal tear or hole. As we age our pupils get smaller making it harder to see the retina without dilation. My friend was told she had a post vitreous detachment.

What Causes Eye Floaters and Flashes

A posterior vitreous detachment occurs when the vitreous gel that gives our eyes their shape, changes its consistency.

It becomes more liquid as we age which causes the volume of the gel to shrink. There are also millions of tiny fibers that are intertwined with the gel and the lining of the retina. When the vitreous humor shrinks these fibers experience a tugging or pulling. This tugging results in an increased number of floaters and sometimes flashes.

Floaters in the eye can be experienced at any age, but they become more common as we age. They appear as tiny black specks that seem to float across one's field of vision. Normally they are quite harmless and do not interfere with one's vision but other times they can be large and "hang out" in a way that is quite bothersome.

Find out more about these vitreous floaters and flashes and what symptoms require immediate medical attention:

Vitreous Floaters and Flashes: What Are They? When Are They an Eye Emergency?

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision

www.WebRN-MacularDegeneration.com

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