Don't Ignore Flashes and Floaters: What You Need to Know for Healthy Vision

Floaters often appear as translucent specks, threads, or cobwebs that drift about when your eyes move, and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. Flashes, on the other hand, can be likened to the flash of a camera or streaks of lightning in your peripheral vision. While they can occur separately, their simultaneous presence may raise an amber light regarding your ocular health.

Causes of Eye Flashes and Floaters

The natural aging process is the most common cause of eye flashes and floaters. Over time, the vitreous humor inside your eyes becomes more liquid, and the microscopic fibers within it can clump together and cast shadows on your retina, manifesting as floaters.

Certain conditions, such as uveitis, can cause inflammation in the eye and lead to the appearance of floaters. Similarly, bleeding in the eye, which might result from injury or conditions like diabetic retinopathy, can introduce new floaters. These instances are particularly concerning as they might signal underlying health issues that could have broader implications for your overall wellness.

Trauma to the eye can lead to the sudden appearance of eye flashes and floaters. When an impact occurs, it can induce changes in the vitreous or retina, prompting these visual anomalies. It's crucial to take any form of trauma to the eye seriously, as the consequences can be far-reaching for your vision.

Identifying the cause behind these visual disturbances is a significant aspect of managing your eye health. While some causes may be benign and simply a result of aging, others could be symptomatic of more serious conditions that require prompt treatment.

Common Eye Conditions Associated with Flashes and Floaters

Among the most prevalent conditions linked to eye flashes and floaters is Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD). This occurs when the vitreous humor separates from the retina. While PVD is generally harmless and more common as you age, the sudden onset of symptoms can be disconcerting. The key is to understand that, while PVD is not usually a cause for alarm, it does warrant attention as it can occasionally lead to more serious conditions.

The appearance of eye flashes and floaters can sometimes indicate a retinal tear or detachment—a more severe condition that requires immediate medical attention. When the vitreous pulls away from the retina, it may tear this delicate tissue, potentially leading to a detachment if left untreated. The retina is crucial for capturing visual information, and any damage to it can have significant implications for your vision.

The Importance of Seeing a Professional 

If you find that your eye flashes and floaters are persistent or worsening, it's a clear sign that you should consult an optometrist. While it's true that some floaters can be normal, a noticeable increase or persistence of symptoms is a valid reason to get your eyes checked.

If you've experienced an injury to the eye, regardless of whether you're seeing eye flashes and floaters, it's prudent to have an optometrist assess your eye health. Trauma can lead to complications that might not be immediately apparent.

Seeking professional advice at the right time is crucial in maintaining healthy vision. An optometrist can provide you with the necessary insights and treatments to keep your eyes in top condition. Don't hesitate to book an appointment as soon as you notice any concerning changes.


Eye flashes and floaters can be more than mere annoyances; they can be harbingers of underlying eye conditions that require your attention. Understanding the common eye conditions associated with these symptoms, recognizing when to see an optometrist, and the importance of regular check-ups are all crucial elements in maintaining healthy vision.

If you're experiencing eye flashes and floaters, visit TMS Eyecare in our Wichita or Arkansas City, Kansas, office. Please call (316) 669-4760, (316) 686-7212, or (620) 442-2577 to schedule an appointment today.

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