There are a number of potential causes for eye floaters and flashes, including:
The interior of our eye – a gel-like substance – is called the vitreous. As we age, our body’s natural ageing process gradually begins to shrink the vitreous. During this process, the vitreous will detach from the retina (the back portion of your eye) and create a watery center. For most people, this process happens without any issue or symptoms.
As the vitreous shrinks, small clumps of matter will form, creating what we refer to as eye floaters. Floaters appear as small spots, flecks, or squiggles that drift around in your field of vision. They are typically not cause for alarm and will go away on their own.
Sometimes the vitreous will pull or rub on your retina – the light-sensitive tissue layer at the back of your eye – causing what seems like flashes or streaks of light. When the vitreous detaches from the retina, a part of the natural ageing process, you may see flashing lights sporadically for a couple of weeks.
If you find that your eye flashes or floaters have suddenly increased in quantity or size, it is recommended that you see the Optometrist as soon as possible. A change like that can be indicative of a retinal tear or complete retinal detachment. Both of these situations are extremely serious and can lead to permanent blindness. Early detection and treatment is the only way to ensure this does not occur.
If you experience a sudden change in your vision we invite you to visit our Optometrist for a complete assessment of your ocular health.