Seeing Floaters and Flashes? Why You Need an Eye Exam Now!

Seeing Floaters and Flashes?
Why You Need an Eye Exam Now!

Have you ever looked at the sky or scenery and noticed small shapes floating in front of you, like specks of dust on a camera lens? It doesn’t matter how often you blink or shift your gaze- they stay in your field of vision.

These shapes, known as floaters, are solid parts of the vitreous, a gel-like substance in your eye. As you age, it begins to shrink, creating floaters that pass through the centre of your retina (the macula), which is when you notice them. They can assume a wide variety of shapes, but the most common ones are:

While a few floaters are not always something to worry about, it’s a different story when they are accompanied by flashes of light and partial loss of peripheral (side) vision. These flashes may look like:

If this happens, you’ll want to book an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible, as it could mean that the vitreous is pulling or rubbing on the retina. Left unchecked, it could lead first to a retinal tear and then a detachment, which is when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye. It’s a condition that can potentially lead to permanent vision loss, so early intervention yields best results.

Conditions That Cause Flashes and Floaters

Although retinal tears are a common cause of floaters and flashes in your vision, they aren’t the only one. Other situations or illnesses that can make them appear include:

These conditions are all serious but typically respond well to treatment, especially when you catch them in the early stages. Any vision irregularities should always be checked by an eye care professional as soon as possible, so that you have the best chance of preserving your vision for as long as possible.

Regular Eye Exams Can Catch Many Conditions Early

If you have concerns about eye floaters or flashes, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible. At Uptown Eye Specialists, our skilled team of ophthalmologists offer a full range of eye care services that include treatment for conditions that may be causing floaters and flashes in your visual field. For more information, please call (416) 292-0330.

Please reschedule your appointment if within the last 14 days you or a household member has travelled outside of Canada, have experienced flu-like symptoms, been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, been diagnosed with COVID-19 or waiting for a lab test for COVID-19.
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