Floaters and Flashes

  • Home
  • Floaters and Flashes

What Are Floaters and Flashes

Floaters are like tiny specks or threads that seem to drift around when you look at something bright, like a clear sky or a white wall. These little things are actually shadows that are created by small bits of stuff floating inside your eyes.

Flashes are like quick bursts of light or tiny lightning bolts that you might suddenly see in your vision. They can be white or have colors, and they often happen because a gel-like substance inside your eyes tugs or pulls on your eye's back wall.

Why are these flashes and floaters a big deal?

Imagine that your eyes are like cameras, with your retina as the film inside that helps facilitate vision. When these appear suddenly, this could be a sign that something is tugging or pulling on your retina and potentially leading to vision problems or even blindness.

Attentiveness to these is of utmost importance as they could be an early indicator that something is amiss with your eyes.

What are Floaters and Flashes
What creates floaters in the eye? What causes Floaters?

1. Getting Older: As we age, things change inside our eyes, which can lead to those tiny spots.

2. Eye Injuries: If something hits your eye, it can release tiny particles that create these specks.

3. Eye Infections or Swelling: When your eye gets infected or swollen, it can cause these little things.

4. Problems with the Eye's Back Wall: If the back part of your eye has issues, it might result in these spots.

5. Diabetes: Diabetes can sometimes lead to changes in your eyes, causing these tiny specks.

6. Nearsightedness: If you have trouble seeing things far away, you might be more likely to have these.

7. Migraines: Some people see these spots as part of a migraine headache.

Most floaters are safe and frequent, but rapid and dramatic changes or new floaters can indicate a more significant eye disease.

Why causes Flashes? What Causes Flashes?
  • Vitreous Gel Movement: Flashes can happen when the jelly-like substance inside your eye (called the vitreous gel) moves or tugs on the back of your eye. It's like a little dance of jelly that creates those quick bursts of light.
  • Aging Eyes: As we get older, our eyes change, and sometimes the vitreous gel pulls away from the back of our eye.
  • Eye Injuries: Flashes can result from eye injuries like being hit. This is because an accident can damage the vitreous gel or retina, which helps you see.
  • Eye Surgeries: Certain eye surgeries, like cataract surgery, can also cause flashes. It's usually temporary and part of the healing process.
  • Migraines: Some people experience flashes as part of a migraine. These flashes often come with other symptoms like headaches.

Flashes can result from eye injuries like being hit. This is because an accident can damage the vitreous gel or retina, which helps you see.

Differentiating Between Harmless and Concerning Flashes:

Not all flashes are bad. Some are harmless, others may need treatment. How to distinguish:

Tiny specks make vision blurry

Harmless Flashes: These are temporary sparks or light streaks. In sudden eye movements, they may appear. Because our eyes' jelly-like portion changes with age. They are usually harmless.

Concerning Flashes: If you suddenly see a lot of flashes, especially if they look like curtains or shadows, be concerned. It may indicate a retinal issue. This is more common if you're older, nearsighted, or have had eye injuries. See an eye doctor immediately if you detect worrying flashes.

When to Be Concerned

These might be harmless or indicate significant eye diseases. The following warning indications are crucial:

Symptoms of Flashes and Floaters
  • Sudden Onset: If you suddenly experience an influx of new floaters or a significant increase in flashes, it's crucial to seek immediate ophthalmologist’s attention.
  • Associated Symptoms: These accompanied by other symptoms such as a shadow or curtain in your peripheral vision, or a sudden decrease in vision, can be indicative of a retinal tear or detachment.
  • Painless or Painful: Both painless and painful flashes and floaters should not be ignored. Painful flashes may be associated with eye inflammation or other issues.

Importance of an Eye Test

If you're experiencing these eye problem, it's wise to schedule an appointment with an eye specialist. Here's what to expect during an eye examination:

Why to go for eye test?

1. Visual Acuity Test: This test assesses your ability to see details at various distances and helps identify potential vision problems.

2. Slit-Lamp Examination: A slit lamp allows the eye specialist to examine the structures of your eye, including the vitreous, retina, and lens.

3. Dilation: Your pupils may be dilated to provide the specialist with a better view of your retina and the vitreous.

The Migraine-Vision Flash Connection:

Migraine sufferers may experience zigzag lines, flashing lights, or shimmering spots. Some term these blurred images "migraine auras." You may see these strange visuals because your brain sends confused messages to your eyes. When migraine auras occur, they usually precede or accompany the headache.

Managing Migraine Visual Disturbances Managing Migraine Visual Disturbances:

Visual abnormalities during a migraine shouldn't worry you. Sit or lie down somewhere calm and dark. Close your eyes and relax. This may accelerate visual disturbance recovery. These auras preceding a migraine may indicate that you should take your migraine medicine early to avoid a severe headache. Remember to consult a doctor about your migraines and auras for personalized guidance and treatment.

Treatment of Flashes and Floaters
  • Observation: If the situation is not severe and is not hurting your vision, your doctor may recommend monitoring them. Sometimes, they can go away on their own.
Treatment of Flashes and Floaters
  • Surgery: A vitrectomy may be recommended in severe cases, especially if the floaters are causing visual issues. The doctor removes the vitreous gel and replaces it with a clear solution. It can minimize or remove floaters.
  • Laser Therapy: Some floaters can be treated using lasers. Breaking floaters into smaller, less visible parts works.
  • Fixing Underlying Causes: Treating an eye problem such a retinal tear or detachment that causes flashes and floaters is crucial. Surgery or other treatments may be needed.
  • Lifestyle changes: Eating healthier, managing diabetes, or stopping smoking can help prevent or lessen floaters.

What are the Precautions? Precautions of Flashes and Floaters
  • Regular Eye Exams: If you see new flashes or floaters, see an eye specialist. Early detection can prevent problems.
  • Eye Protection: Wear protective eyewear in sports and some jobs to reduce the danger of floaters.
  • Diabetes: Manage your diabetes to avoid diabetic retinopathy, which can cause it and other eye problems.
  • Maintain an active life by eating well, exercising, and not smoking. Good eye health can result from these habits.
  • Be careful with tools and objects that could hurt your eyes at home. Keep dangerous substances away and obey safety rules.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can cause migraines with auras and visual abnormalities. Manage stress to prevent such occurrences.


As explored the world of flashes and floaters, shedding light on their causes, potential risks, and when to seek medical attention. At Save Sight Centre, we prioritize your eye health and well-being.

Remember, if you're experiencing unusual eye problems, don't hesitate to consult with our eye specialist. Early intervention can be crucial in preserving your vision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.1 What does it mean when you see flashes and floaters?

Ans. When you see flashes, it can mean that the gel inside your eye is moving and pulling on your eye's back wall, creating quick bursts of light. Floaters are tiny specks or threads that drift around in your vision, caused by small bits of stuff floating inside your eye.

Q.2 When should I worry about flashes and floaters?

Ans. If you suddenly see many flashes, especially if they look like a curtain or shadow, worry. If you observe a rapid rise in floaters or a dark curtain-like effect, get treatment immediately as it may indicate a significant eye disease.

Q.3 Do floaters and flashes go away?

Ans. If not severe, floaters and flashes may disappear on their own. If they continue or disturb you, see an eye doctor.

Q.4 At What age Floaters can be seen?

Ans. Floaters can be seen at any age, but they become more common as you get older, typically after the age of 50. This is because the vitreous gel in your eye changes over time.

Q.5 Does it cause due to lack of Vitamin D?

Ans. There's no direct link between floaters and a lack of Vitamin D. Floaters are primarily caused by changes in the eye's vitreous gel, eye injuries, or other eye conditions.

Q.6 Is it normal to see flashes?

Ans. Seeing occasional flashes can be normal, especially as you age. But if you see a sudden increase in flashes or they become frequent, it's best to get your eyes checked by a doctor.

Q.7 Can eye flashes be cured?

Ans. Eye flashes can sometimes be managed or reduced with treatments like surgery or laser therapy, depending on the cause. However, not all flashes can be completely cured.

Q.8 Are eye flashes permanent?

Ans. Migraines can cause brief eye flashes. They may require quick treatment if caused by a serious problem like retinal detachment.