woman at the eye doctor

Many people don’t understand what’s going on with their eyes because of lack of information. An easy way to rectify this is with routine eye care exams

Eye exams with an eye care professional are the only way to diagnose eye diseases and conditions. Grand Rapids Ophthalmology provides professional services for all eye health issues. Keep reading to find out if your flashes and floaters are normal!

Should you be worried about flashes and floaters in your eyes? 

Flashes and floaters are usually harmless. These eye conditions can occur at any point in your life. 

The two are a broad term for cobwebs, specks, or thread-like images that drift from time to time across your line of vision. With floaters, you might see specks or images floating in your vision when you look around. 

Flashes appear like lighting or starbursts in your view. Flashes and floaters are generally not a cause for alarm. They come and go after a short while without affecting your eyesight. 

But there are instances when they should not be considered normal. 

When should you take your flashes and floaters seriously? 

A severe case of flashes and floaters might be a sign of a retinal tear or detachment. Floaters appear when the vitreous humor shrinks. 

The shrinkage may cause mechanical trauma to the retina, which is when flashes appear. If you see any of the following symptoms, you should see an eye doctor immediately:

  • Showers, a new or larger floater that suddenly appears
  • If you see flashes of light suddenly or the flashes become persistent
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Floaters accompanied by flashes of light in your vision
  • Unclear vision
  • If it looks as though a window shade is being drawn over your field of view
  • Loss of peripheral vision

If your floaters and flashes affect your ability to see, you should see an eye specialist within 24 hours. These symptoms indicate issues with the retina. If left untreated, they may lead to vision loss. 

How can you get rid of temporary flashes and floaters? 

Temporary flashes and floaters can be bothersome. To get rid of them, move your eyes from side to side. 

You can also move your eyes up and down. Moving your eyes up and down or side to side causes movement of the vitreous humor. It will likely move the images and flashes out of your field of vision. 

How can you prevent flashes and floaters? 

The appearance of vision-threatening floaters and flashes can be prevented through routine eye care practices. These include:

  •     Annual eye exams – eye examinations performed on parts of the eye, such as the retina and cornea, can help detect any eye diseases and conditions in early stages.
  •     Maintaining a healthy diet – rich in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and proteins that are good for your eye health. 
  •     Polarized sunglasses – when in bright light for long periods, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes against exposure to UV light. 

Most eye treatment procedures, especially those requiring surgery, are quite sensitive. Eye procedures need to be carried out by qualified and experienced ophthalmologists and optometrists. 

Severe flashes and floaters can be treated with procedures including vitrectomy, invasive surgery, or laser surgery. 

Concerned that you may have flashes and floaters that affect your ability to see? Schedule a consultation at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology now!