Floaters and flashes
- Posted on: Mar 26 2014
Floaters are those clouds and specks that suddenly become obvious when you stare at an open sky, a blank wall or an untouched canvas. If you see those noodles or transparent caterpillars, join the club. Most people experience floaters at one time or another, most of which are harmless. Sometimes they are as easy to chase away as rolling your eyes a few times to shake up the vitreous gel that comprises our eyeballs. Others just seem to fade away with time. The brain neuroadapts by ignoring them with time. Still, floaters and/or flashes – those quick bursts of light we see when we get hit in the eye or rub our eyes too hard and see stars – can be a sign of a more serious problem, like a torn or detached retina. Floaters may appear as if they are moving about the outside world, but they are really shadows cast on the retina (layers of light perceiving cells that coat the backs of our eyes and change incoming light to visual images sent to our brains which allow us to see). Bursts of light may also be a sign of problems with the retina. As we age, the vitreous gel liquifies and constricts. It may pull away from the retina of the eye, leaving us with specks and shadows, amoebas and see-through noodles in our plane of vision. Flashes of light can also be seen with Migraine Headaches.
If you notice flashes and floaters you should make an appointment to see your ophthalmologist to determine if your retinas are compromised or threatened. Increased number and frequency of flashes and floaters, losing the ability to read, and having a curtain cover your vision can be ominous signs of tears or detachments of your retina. Tears in the retina and retinal detachment can lead to permanent loss of vision. Early detection of retinal tears and breaks can increase your chances of maintaining excellent vision.
Posted in: Eye Conditions