Flashes and floaters both deal with your eye's gel-like vitreous fluid. While annoying at times, they are not dangerous by themselves. They can, however, be symptoms of a more serious issue and should have a thorough dilated eye exam.
Floaters get their name because they appear to float within your field of vision. While they seem to float in front of the eye, as though they could be brushed away, floaters are actually shadows on the eye's retina cast by clumps of cells that float within the vitreous gel of the eye.
Have you ever seen stars after being hit in the eye? These "stars" or flashes of light are caused by your eye's vitreous gel pulling on your retina. They can continue to flash for weeks or even months.
Some people experience migraine flashes, caused by spasms in the brain's blood vessels or a metabolic imbalance of brain cells.
Contact us if you see new flashes of light.
Q: I've seen flashes of light for years. How do I know when to seek help for it?
A: Contact your eye doctor immediately if you see new flashes of light. Your flashes could be signs of a retinal problem that can be diagnosed with a complete dilated ophthalmic exam. New flashes need to be checked to make sure they're not part of a more serious problem. If they've already been checked by another doctor, and you're still concerned, contact us for an appointment.