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Eye Floaters and Flashes Harmless or Serious Eye Symptoms?
April 29, 2020

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.

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. 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 causing the volume 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 get older. 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, eye floaters following eye injections and what symptoms require immediate medical attention:

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

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision

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