Floaters appear in your field of vision as small specks, dots, circles, lines, or cobwebs. They appear to be in front of your eyes, but they are actually floating inside. Floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells within the vitreous (the fluid that fills your eye). The shadows cast by these clumps on your retina are what you see.
Floaters are usually visible when looking at something plain, such as a blank wall or a blue sky.
Our vitreous begins to thicken or shrink as we age. In the vitreous, clumps or strands can form. A posterior vitreous detachment occurs when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye. Floaters are more common with posterior vitreous detachment, but they can occur without one as well. They are not serious, and they gradually fade and become less noticeable. Surgery can remove severe floaters, but it is risky and rarely necessary or recommended.
Flashes can appear in your field of vision as flashing lights or lightning streaks. Some compare it to seeing "stars" after being hit on the head. Flashes may occur intermittently for weeks or even months. When the vitreous rubs or pulls on your retina, flashes occur.
It is common for people to experience flashes as they age. Our ophthalmologist should be consulted if you notice any new floaters or flashes.