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Eye Floaters, Flashes & Spots

What is it?

Eye floaters are those tiny spots, specks, flecks and “cobwebs” that drift aimlessly around in your field of vision. While annoying, ordinary eye floaters and spots are very common and usually aren’t cause for alarm.

Floaters and spots typically appear when tiny pieces of the eye’s gel-like vitreous break loose within the inner back portion of the eye.

You’ll notice that these types of spots and floaters are particularly pronounced when you peer at a bright, clear sky or a white computer screen. But you can’t actually see tiny bits of debris floating loose within your eye. Instead, shadows from these floaters are cast on the retina as light passes through the eye, and those shadows are what you see.

When are eye Floaters and Flashes an emergency?

If you see a shower of floaters and spots, sometimes accompanied by light flashes, you should seek medical attention immediately. Call us on 0113 266 3818

Clumps occur when the vitreous gel begins to liquefy or shrink, usually with aging, and detaches from the retina.
The sudden appearance of these symptoms could mean that the vitreous is pulling away from your retina or that the retina itself is becoming dislodged from the inner back of the eye that contains blood, nutrients and oxygen vital to healthy function. When the retina is torn, vitreous can invade the opening and push out the retina — leading to a detachment.

What causes Eye Floaters and Spots?

As mentioned above, posterior vitreous detachments or PVDs are common causes of vitreous floaters. Far less commonly, these symptoms can be associated with retinal tears or detachments that may be linked to PVDs.

As the vitreous gel fills the inside of the back of the eye, it presses against and actually attaches to the retina. Over time, the vitreous becomes more liquefied in the center. This sometimes means that the central, more watery vitreous cannot support the weight of the heavier, more peripheral vitreous gel.

What causes Eye Flashes?

Ordinarily, light entering your eye stimulates the retina. This produces an electrical impulse, which the optic nerve transmits to the brain. The brain then interprets this impulse as light or some type of image.

If the retina is mechanically stimulated (physically touched), a similar electrical impulse is sent to the brain. This impulse is then interpreted as a “flicker” of light.

When the retina is tugged, torn or detached from the back of the eye, a flash or flicker of light commonly is noticed. Depending on the extent of the tear or detachment, these flashes of light might be short-lived or continue indefinitely until the retina is repaired.

Source: All About Vision



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