Although flashes and floaters can be harmless without causing any significant distractions, it can be an eye emergency. If you have a sudden onset of flashes of light or floaters, contact us immediately for an urgent appointment. Heights Eye Studio is fully equipped to diagnose if your flashes and floaters are normal or require emergency surgery.
Flashes look like lightning streaks or flashing lights in your vision. Some patients describe them as seeing stars. This occurs when light hits the retina (lining of the back of the eye) and sends a message through the optic nerve to the brain to create an image. Attached to the retina is a gel-like substance called the vitreous. With age, the vitreous shrinks which pull or tugs on the retina which causes the brain to interpret as a flash of light.
Floaters appear as small dots, specks, lines, cobwebs, or circles floating in your vision. They are small fibers floating in your vitreous (gel-like substance inside your eye). Floaters typically increase with age when the vitreous shrinks, but can be present at any age. Having a higher prescription (high myopia), previous surgery, injury, or trauma makes patients more at risk for floaters.
Ocular migraines are where you see flashes of light with a migraine headache. These flashes normally subside after 20 minutes. If they last longer, please give us a call at Heights Eye Studio to further investigate the origin of your flashes.
Transient ischemic attacks or strokes can also present with flashes of light. This is an emergency and you should seek immediate medical attention.
Retinal detachments or retinal tears can present with flashes of light or floaters. This is an eye emergency because it can cause permanent vision loss. If you notice these symptoms, please call Heights Eye Studio for an emergency office visit.
If you notice any flashes of lights or floaters, please call Heights Eye Studio so that we can help with the sudden changes in your vision.