What are Flashes & Floaters?
The inside lining of the back of the eye is called the retina. When light hits the retina, it sends an impulse through the optic nerve to the brain, where the light is then translated into an image. This occurs when you rub your eyes and see a flicker or sparkle or light.
The gel-like substance in the eye, called the vitreous, is attached to the retina. As we age, the vitreous shrinks and becomes more fibrous, which can cause it to pull or tug on the retina. When the vitreous pulls on the retina, the brain interprets it as a flash of light.
Flashes can also occur due to an injury, sudden stop, or fall. Some refer to this as “seeing stars.”
In the vitreous, small fibers float around the gel-like substance and can appear in your field of view. You may notice specks, clumps, or squiggles crossing your field of vision as if they are suspended in the air. These are called floaters.
Floaters are a regular occurrence and usually increase with age, but they can appear at any point in life. Things like high myopia, trauma, injury, or past surgery can cause floaters to increase, but they are most commonly related to aging. As we get older, the vitreous shrinks, becoming more fibrous and increasing the number of floaters we see.
If you notice a sudden onset of floaters or floaters accompanied by flashes, you should immediately seek medical attention. At Macha Eye Care, we can help if you experience any sudden changes in your vision.