What you need to know about flashes and floaters

A young man applying face creamhttp:// you ever have floaters or flashes in your eyes, it’s usually not a cause for concern. But when you are noticing many floaters or several flashes, then you need to see your doctor to rule out any serious conditions. 

What they are

You can blame the aging process for a lot of things, and changes to your eyes is one of them. During the aging process, the vitreous or gel-filled liquid that fills the eye becomes thinner and more watery and can start to pull away from the retina. Known as posterior vitreous detachment, or PVD, tissue debris that was once in the firm vitreous gel begins to loosen and move around and cast shadows on the retina. You may see flashes of light or specks or strands in your field of vision. Even though they are common, it’s still a good idea to see your ophthalmologist. 


In addition to aging, flashes and floaters can appear in eyes that are inflamed or nearsighted. Other causes include having cataract surgery, diabetes, retinitis, being nearsighted, having a head injury or injury to the eye, or experiencing a spasm of small blood vessels. The spasm can cause flashes that are often associated with migraine headaches. 

When to see your doctor

Most people who have PVD do not need treatment. But if you are experiencing many flashes and floaters, this could be a sign of retinal detachment, which can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated. If you experience a sudden onset of symptoms or momentary blindness, seek immediate medical attention. 

If you are experiences unusual or unfamiliar disturbances in your vision, it’s important to see your ophthalmologist and have an eye examination. Regular eye exams will help you and your doctor understand the health of your vision and stay ahead of or on top of any problems that may arise. To schedule an appointment for an eye exam, call (425) 259-2020 today.

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Physicians Eye Clinic
3930 Hoyt Ave
Everett, WA 98201
Tel: (425) 259-2020

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