The interior of our eye is mostly filled with a gel-like substance known as the vitreous. Our body’s natural ageing process will gradually begin to shrink our eye’s vitreous. As this happens, the vitreous detaches from our retina and creates a watery center. Small clumps of matter will form during the deterioration of the vitreous, creating what we refer to as eye floaters.
Eye floaters appear is small specks or squiggles, and when you try to look at them directly they seem to dart off to the side.
When the vitreous pulls or rubs on your retina, you can experience flashes of light.
Typically, eye flashes occur naturally as we age. The vitreous will eventually separate from the retina, typically by the age of 60 years old. It is common for this to occur without noticing anything or experiencing any issues.
Eye flashes and floaters are often harmless and should go away on their own after brief appearances.
We recommend prompt assessment by our Optometrists if you find that your eye floaters or flashes have suddenly increased in size or amount, obscure your vision, cause decreased vision or just simply do not fade away like usual. They may be indicating a retinal tear or complete retinal detachment. Both are very serious conditions that can lead to irreversible vision loss if not detected and treated expeditiously.
If the cause of your eye flashes or floaters is a retinal tear or detachment, the prescribed treatment will be immediate vision surgery to prevent total blindness.