Floaters and Flashes

Floaters are a very common symptom and are due to changes that occur in the jelly-like area of the eye called the vitreous body. Small particles in the vitreous are seen in your field of vision as dark round, oval or irregular objects that move about. Floaters are usually harmless and no treatment is needed. Eventually they become less noticeable or disappear completely.

As part of the aging change in the eye the vitreous body shrinks in size and commonly separates from the retina (the inner lining of the eye). If this occurs you may notice a burst of floaters or a very large floater in addition to ‘flashing lights’ in your vision. This condition is called a ‘posterior vitreous detachment’ or PVD and most of the time is also harmless although the floaters may be annoying

Rarely when a PVD occurs it tears a small hole in the retina. This is a more serious condition that can lead to a retinal detachment. It is therefore very important that if you do have new floaters and/or flashing lights in your vision you see an eye specialist promptly. The main symptom of retinal detachment is a dark or black ‘curtain’ coming over your vision.

Floaters & Flashes

Floaters and Flashes diagram

Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment diagram