Many of us have floaters in our vision. These can be seen as black or gnat-like spots that seem to move around or float. They can also appear as veils blocking our vision. Sometimes these floaters are associated with flashing lights. Flashes and floaters can be caused by several factors, but they are often associated with changes happening inside our eyes.

What causes these floaters and flashes and what do we do about them?

Floaters: These are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the gel-like substance that fills the inside of your eye. As you age, the vitreous gel may shrink and become more liquid. Floaters can occur when tiny fibers within the vitreous clump together and cast shadows on your retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Floaters can also be caused by eye inflammation, bleeding in the eye, condensation of the vitreous gel, or retinal tears.

Flashes: Flashes of light can occur when the vitreous gel pulls or tugs on the retina. This pulling stimulates the retina, causing you to see flashes of light. Sometimes, flashes can also be a sign of retinal detachment, which occurs when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye. This is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. Migraines can also cause light flashes sometimes even without a headache.

While floaters and flashes can be quite annoying they often improve with time without treatment. Rarely if the floaters blocks your vision and do not improve, surgery can be performed.

It’s important to note that while floaters and occasional flashes are common and usually harmless. However, they can sometimes indicate a more serious underlying eye condition. If you suddenly notice a significant increase in floaters and flashes, especially if they’re accompanied by other symptoms like a curtain-like shadow over all or a part of your vision, it’s crucial to see an eye doctor promptly for a comprehensive eye examination.