Floaters or Flashes?

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Affecting seven out of ten people, there are few eye ailments that are more prevalent than eye floaters.

Floaters can vary in their frequency and the shapes that they take. Some people who are only lightly affected may be able to ignore their eye floaters. Others that suffer from either increased amounts or heavier, denser floaters may not have the option of getting used to or ignoring them.

Eye Floaters

It may go without saying, but everyday activities, like operating a motor vehicle, can easily become potential dangers when your vision is obstructed. Additionally, when so many of life’s memories are captured visually, heavy or chronic eye floaters can greatly diminish one’s quality of life.

Despite the numerous complications and the interference that eye floaters can pose in a person’s life, there are treatment options available, including less invasive procedures like laser floater removal.

Before you can determine a treatment option, you will first have to identify if your vision is impaired as a result of eye floaters or from a different condition commonly referred to as experiencing “flashes.” Here’s how to tell the difference.

FLOATERS – These translucent squiggly lines, dots, or clouds are caused when fibers in the gel-like substance in your eye clump together. When these little clumps drift loose, they can pass over the retina. This causes a shadow in the visual field, resulting in what we experience as eye floaters.Fibrous Eye Floaters

FIBEROUS STRANDS or COBWEBS are the most common form of floaters. They appear as stringy fibers that tend to drift across the visual field rather than Weiss Ring Eye Floaters bunching up.

WEISS RINGS are larger, ring-shaped floaters that form when the vitreous tissue surrounding the optic nerve detaches from the back of the eye.

Cloud Eye Floaters

Cloud-like Floaters are unique in that they are caused from the natural process of aging. Their shape is less well-defined than fibrous strand floaters. They appear more diffused across the visual field and often in cloud-like shapes.

FLASHES– Flashes of light that obstruct your field of vision are also known as photopsia.

There are several potential reasons that someone may be experiencing flashes, but only an eye doctor can diagnose and treat the symptoms. If you are experiencing flashes, we recommend making an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

One common cause of flashes is a result from the vitreous membrane separating from the retina. During this release, the retina is stimulated and reacts by “flashing” in response.

Flash Floaters

While not a painful occurrence, flashes can pose a dangerous distraction to everyday activities like operating machinery or driving an automobile. Additionally, flashes can detract from quality of life through their persistent visual interference. A rental detachment is a serious medical issue, so see your doctor as quickly as possible if you are experiencing these symptoms.

To find a doctor who specializes in floater treatment near you visit our innovative Doctor Locator Tool that can help you easily find a doctor near you.

Eye Floater Institute