What are flashes and floaters?
In order to process what we see around us, our eyes bend light and our brain interprets the different images. Light first enters the front of the eye and passes through the vitreous before it hits the retina. The vitreous is a clear gel that fills the center of the eye. When clumps of gel form within the vitreous, these are known as floaters. As they move around, they pass shadows on the retina, which causes us to see little dots, lines, circles, clouds, or cobwebs within our field of view. When the vitreous gel hits or weighs down the retina, flashes occur. Some describe it as seeing "stars" or lightning streaks. If you have been experiencing flashes and/or floaters, we invite you to call Baton Rouge Eye Physicians in Baton Rouge, LA to book an appointment with one of our seasoned ophthalmologists.
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Treatments for Flashes and Floaters
Flashes and floaters are generally caused by the natural aging process and usually go away on their own over time. However, they can be a sign of a retinal detachment or another serious eye condition, which is why it's important to have your eyes examined right away if you have noticed a lot of new flashes and/or floaters, shadows in your side view, or a gray curtain that covers a portion of your visual field. During an eye exam, our team will assess your ocular structures to check for any signs of retinal damage or underlying eye diseases. From there, we will determine if any treatment is necessary to repair the retina and discuss therapies that can help with flashes and floaters.
Flashes and floaters FAQs
Are flashes and floaters common?
Flashes and floaters are very common! It's normal for people to report small floating spots across their field of vision every once in a while. However, a sudden increase in flashes and floaters means there may be something wrong with your eye health. Baton Rouge Eye Physicians should perform an exam to make sure there is no serious underlying cause.
Will flashes and floaters disappear eventually?
Yes, most flashes and floaters should disappear over time. For example, floaters tend to fade away when you move your eyes to follow them. Take a break from looking at your computer screen to see if this reduces your symptoms. As we mentioned, patients in Baton Rouge should reach out to our team if they increase in frequency or size.
Can I do anything to prevent flashes and floaters?
You can't always prevent flashes and floaters, but you might be able to improve your eye health in other ways. Our team recommends minimizing screen time, protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays, and eating a healthy diet. Attending regular eye exams every year is the best way to catch potential problems with your eyes and retinas before they worsen.
living with floaters
Although flashes and floaters can be annoying, they generally fade over time and become less bothersome. While invasive treatment options are available, the risks usually outweigh the minor annoyances caused by floaters. These occurrences can, however, be a sign of a retinal detachment, which should not go untreated. Contact Baton Rouge Eye Physicians to set up an appointment at our office in Baton Rouge, LA today.