Flashes and Floaters

Have You Seen Specks Floating In Your Vision?

Aging causes the vitreous, the gel-like substance that maintains the eye’s roundness, to thicken and shrink. This process may lead to clumps that cast shadows on the retina, called eye floaters. 


Have You Seen Sudden Flashes In Your Vision?

Vitreous shrinkage may also cause the vitreous to pull on the retina, which leads to light streaks in vision, called eye flashes. 


Receive A Dilated Eye Exam

Patients experiencing flashes and/or floaters should schedule a dilated eye exam. If significant retinal tears/retinal detachment appear, Dr. Conlon will refer to a retinal specialist.


If you are experiencing sudden onset of eye flashes/floaters, schedule an appointment immediately. These symptoms may be indicative of retinal detachment, a condition, which if left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss.


Eye Floaters FAQ

Q: What are eye floaters?

A: Eye floaters are small black or wisp-like shapes entering your field of vision. They may appear to be in front of the eye, but they are the shadows of cells and fibers inside the vitreous, the gel-like material inside the eye. It is most common to notice floaters when looking at a plain surface. Eye floaters may appear as:

  • Spots
  • Specks
  • Lines
  • Circles
  • Cobwebs

Q: What causes eye floaters?

A: The vitreous consists of a gel-like substance that maintains the eye’s round shape and makes up most of the eye’s interiorAging causes the vitreous to thicken and shrink, sometimes causing clumps to form. These clumps cast shadows onto the retina, and it is these shadows that cause the “floaters” to appear in your field of vision.

Usually, floaters are harmless; however, if they become more frequent and are accompanied by eye flashes, contact Dr. Conlon immediately, as this may be a sign of impending retinal detachment.

Q: Who gets eye floaters?

A: Floaters are very common. Aging causes clumping in the vitreous that leads to eye floaters. The following characteristics may also contribute to the presence of floaters:

    • Nearsightedness
    • Migraine headaches
    • Cataract surgery
    • Interior eye inflammation
    • Eye trauma

Q: What treatment is available for eye floaters?

A: Eye floaters often occur as harmless isolated instances, and looking up/down can move floaters out of your vision. Although floaters tend to go away without intervention, severe floaters can be surgically removed if necessary.

Eye Flashes FAQ

Q: What are eye flashes?

A: Eye flashes appear as light flashes/streaks, sometimes similar to a camera flash in the side of your vision.  the “stars” you experience upon a blow to the head. Flashes may a burst of light on one area, or several in varying areas.

Q: What causes eye flashes?

A: As aging causes vitreous shrinkage, the vitreous may remain partially attached to the retina. The shrinking causes the vitreous to pull on these portions of the retina, this is the most common reason you may see flashes in your vision.

Eye flashes may be a symptom of retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is when the retina pulls away from the outer layer of the eye.  The retina cannot function properly while detached from the back of the eye. This detachment can lead to permanent vision loss if untreated. Warning signs of retinal detachment include:

  • Light flashing
  • Sudden appearance of new floaters
  • Shadows in peripheral vision
  • Appearance of a grey “curtain” over your vision

Eye flashes may also be caused by inflammation in the eye or other neurologic conditions such as migraines. It is important to have your eyes examined if you are experiencing flashes in your vision.

Q: Who gets eye flashes?

A: Eye flashes occur as you age. Flashes may also be caused by physical force on the retina, such as hitting/rubbing your eye.