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Home » Eye Care Services » Eye Condition Treatment » Flashes & Floaters

Flashes & Floaters

Making Sense of Flashes & Floaters

Flashes and floaters are, to some extent, normal. However, there are times that they serve as an alarm; letting you know something is going wrong with your eyes. It’s important to know the difference between normal flashes and floaters and an indication of serious eye problems so if it happens to you, you’ll know how to react appropriately.

When Flashes & Floaters are Cause for Concern

Any time you notice sudden changes in your vision they could indicate a problem; flashes and floaters are no exceptions. If you notice that you’re experiencing flashes of light that seem to come in waves, it’s time to seek emergency medical attention.

This is particularly true when the flashes are partnered with a sudden influx of floaters, appearing to rain downward in a sort of shower. These symptoms usually indicate retinal detachment.

Understanding Retinal Detachment

The vitreous (the gel-like fluid inside your eye) is tightly attached to the retina which is then attached to the optic nerve; the channel through which images travel to your brain. Sometimes the vitreous retreats, pulling the retina away from its place at the back of the eye. Other times, a hard impact can cause the retina to detach. Regardless of how it happens, a retinal detachment is a serious issue.

If you start experiencing waves of flashes, a downward shower of floaters, or the appearance of a black curtain falling over your vision, you need to seek medical help immediately. A detached retina can usually be repaired or reattached, but time is of the essence. The sooner you see a doctor, the more likely you are to regain your vision.

The Science Behind Flashes & Floaters


The retina is a very sensitive system of tissues at the back of the eye. When light hits the retina, it sends an impulse to the brain, which is then interpreted into an image.

Flashes occur when something touches, tugs, or otherwise stimulates the retina, causing it to send a similar impulse to the brain. Sometimes, even the vitreous retreating is enough to cause a flash. A singular flash on its own is not typically cause for concern.


The inside of your eye is filled with a fluid called the vitreous. At birth, the vitreous is more of a gel consistency. But as you age, the vitreous starts to dissolve into more of a liquid. However, the vitreous doesn’t dissolve consistently; leaving pieces of undissolved vitreous floating in the liquid.

This is what we see when we see floaters. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and most of the time are no cause for concern. The only time you should be concerned about your floaters is if you notice a sudden change in the size or number of floaters you see.

Suffer of presbyopia? Learn more about presbyopia treatment. offered at Complete Family Eye Care.


To Our Valued Patients:

Complete Family Eye Care has always been committed to the health and safety of our patients, our staff, and our community.

Because of the current spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to assure you that it has been our commitment for years to sterilize each piece of equipment either immediately before or immediately after each use to insure no germs are spread from one patient to another. We have always been proud of this commitment, so for us…it remains ‘business as usual’ and please be assured that we’ve got your back!

While cleanliness has always been a top priority of our practice, we are also increasing our frequency in which ‘high touch’ areas will be cleaned and sterilized, such as our reception chairs and tables as well as our restrooms and children’s play area and toys. You’ll notice that we have also removed magazines from our reception area to help ensure a sterile environment. Additionally, we are also sterilizing each eyeglass frame after our patients try them on. We continue to practice good hygiene by demanding our doctors and staff to wash their hands frequently with anti-bacterial soap or to use a high-percentage alcohol hand sanitizer.

One of the ways Coronavirus is transmitted is by touching the eyes. We highly recommend you take extra precautions of washing your hands before handling contact lenses. We also recommend you frequently sterilize or replace your contact lens case. As usual, always use approved contact lens solutions and follow the directions for proper use. We also recommend you consider wearing glasses more often, rather than contacts, to reduce the amount of eye contact.

We are actively monitoring both local and national information about the Coronavirus and are continuing to do everything we can to keep our practice a clean and safe environment for you and your family. Complete Family Eye Care will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 and will follow the guidelines provided by local and national organizations like the CDC and WHO, and can assure you that our practice remains a safe place to continue your uninterrupted eye health care.

We felt it important to keep you updated, and If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.

Thank you for being such a valued patient,

Dr. Cody Jones and the Staff at Complete Family Eye Care