Floaters and Flashes

Floaters appear as "cobwebs, hairs, or specks," that float about your field of vision.  They may persist, or may only be present part of the time.  There are many different ways that you may perceive them, including spots, threads, or squiggly lines.  They tend to shift position with eye movements.   Most people have floaters at some point in their lift.  New floaters are a reason to call an eye doctor for a dilated examination within 1-2 days.  Although floaters are often harmless, they can be the first sign that you are developing a more serious condition such as a retinal tear or retinal detachment.

Flashing lights can represent a number of different conditions in your eye.  They can be perceived as a streak of lightning or a flicker, that is usually noticed out of the corner of your eye.  Concerning features include if they are persistent, are more frequently noticed in a dark room, and are provoked by eye movement.  Flashing lights are another reason to contact an eye doctor for a dilated eye exam within 1-2 days.

Additional Links

More information on posterior vitreous detachment from the National Eye Institute

More information on floaters from the National Eye Institute

More information from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

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Virginia Beach Office

397 Little Neck Rd
3300 South Building, Ste 202
Virginia Beach, VA 23452

(757) 227-4300
(757) 486-3125

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Albemarle Eye Center
(Mandell Retina Elizabeth City, NC Office)

1503 North Road Street
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

(757) 227-4300
(757) 486-3125

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