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Home » Eye Care Services » Eye Disease Management » Flashes and Floaters

Flashes and Floaters

Eye flashers and floaters are among the most misunderstood visual phenomena that we encounter today. Although most people experience them at least once in their lives, flashes and floaters a troubling visual experience, causing concern and confusion in millions of Canadians.

Let Us Put Your Flash & Floater Concerns to Rest

Using sophisticated diagnostic equipment and our years of experience, we will determine whether or not your case of flashes/floaters are cause for concern and whether something needs to be done.

Eye Floaters

The eye is filled with a gel-like substance called the vitreous. With age, the vitreous dissolves; becoming more of a liquid as time goes by. The vitreous does not necessarily dissolve in a uniform manner; some pieces remain in a more gel-like state. These gel pieces of the vitreous float around in the liquid, causing the little floating shadows in the margins of our vision.

Floaters as a Symptom

Floaters are symptoms of several diseases or physical conditions. For this reason, a new case of floaters or a sudden increase in the size and shape of floaters should be assessed by an eye doctor.

Floaters are linked with diabetic retinopathy, retinal problems (such as a torn retina or retinal detachment), tumors, and eye injuries.

peninsula flashes image

peninsula floaters image

Eye Flashes

Flashes occur when the retina receives physical stimulation. In most cases, flashes are no cause for concern. However, like floaters, any new instance of flashes should be assessed by an opticians as it may be indicative of an impending problem with the eye.

What Causes Flashes?

Flashes are triggered by traction pulling on the retina. Normally when light enters your eye, the retina transmits information from these light signals through the optic nerve and on to the brain. We eventually interpret these signals as “light”. However, when an external force pulls at the retina, it is interpreted the same way, hence the sudden flash of bright light.

Flashes as a Symptom

In most cases, flashes are the result of the vitreous changing its makeup and pulling at the retina. This is relatively normal and is usually nothing to be concerned about. Flashes may also be caused by impact to the head or a sudden jerking movement, and while head injuries always require medical attention, these kinds of flashes are very normal but should be investigated to rule out the more sinister and infrequent causes.

Consistent and repetitive waves of flashes followed by darkened spots at the edges of your vision (similar to tunnel vision) should be investigated by an opticians immediately.

Flashes can be symptoms of an eye disease or an impending retinal problem.

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