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Eye floaters are actually more common that you may think. Many people notice specks or cobweb-like images moving around in their line of vision, at some point. Some even report experiencing a "snow globe effect" as if they are swatting at many imaginary bugs. Floaters may be an annoyance, but in most cases, they are harmless and merely a part of aging. Here are some answers to questions you may have about eye floaters including warning signs that something may be seriously wrong and requires immediate treatment by an eye care professional.
4 Common Questions Asked About Flashers & Floaters
Q: Why is it that when I wake up during the night and I lay there with my eyes closed I have a white flash like someone turning a white page in a book quite fast?
- A:Often when we close our eyes we experience entopic phenomenon, which are visual effects of components within our eye. Specific aspects of the eye can produce images that are specific to each individual. Small floaters can be shadows of objects in the retina such as red blood cells, or white blood cells moving through blood vessels. If the floaters and flashes are visible in daylight, and become frequent, you will want to come in for an examination to ensure your eyes are healthy. Flashing lights and floating spots can be an early signs of retinal problems.
Q: I suddenly see random wavy lines, zig-zagging, and/or blotches of missing vision in my vision that last for no more than 30 minutes, should I be concerned?
- A: You may have just experienced an ophthalmic migraine or a migraine with aura. Usually, these are harmless and indicates some sort of stress. However, it is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning we need to always make sure that isn’t any other ocular concern within the eye itself that may be causing your symptoms. It is a good idea to make an appointment within a few days to have your vision and eye health examined.
- A: Flashes of light in your vision could be a very dangerous sign! Something is tugging at your retina and eliciting these flashes of light. Sometimes it could be the vitreous humor pulling at the retina in aging vitreous degeneration, but sometimes it could mean a dangerous retinal tear or detachment. Detachments need to be treated within 24 hours for the best prognosis in preventing permanent vision loss.
- A: Spots and floaters are usually harmless. However, in some cases it can be a sign of a retinal detachment or bleeding. Anyone experiencing symptoms of flashing lights and flashing spots should contact our office immediately for a detailed eye exam.
What are eye floaters?
Eye floaters are collagen deposits inside the vitreous humor that fills the space between the lens and retina of your eye. As you age, the vitreous, which is made up of this gel-like protein substance, begins to dissolve and liquefy, creating a more watery consistency. Floaters appear when the collagen fibrils and vitreous membrane become disturbed and go into your line of sight. A posterior vitreous detachment is a common age related change that causes a sudden large floater to occur. Floaters can range in size, shape and consistency and are often more visible when looking at a white screen or clear blue sky.
What is the vitreous?
The vitreous functions to maintain the round shape of your eyeball. It assists with light refraction and acts as a shock absorber for the retina.
How do floaters develop?
As mentioned above, aging of the vitreous can cause it to liquefy, shrink and become stringy or strand-like. As the vitreous is normally transparent, when strands develop they cast a shadow on your retina, which in turn causes floaters to appear in your vision.
What will I see if I have floaters?
Eye floaters can appear in your vision as threads, fragments of cobwebs or spots which float slowly in front of your eyes. You'll also notice that these specks never seem to stay still when you try to focus on them. Floaters and spots create the impression that they are drifting and they seem to move when your eye moves.
Who is at risk for developing floaters?
Floaters are quite common particularly in individuals that are elderly, diabetic, near-sighted or anyone who has had cataract surgery.
Are floaters dangerous and do they need treatment?
In many cases, floaters are simply an annoyance and can be left alone. Sometimes they will improve over time. In some cases though, floaters can be so distracting that they can block vision and consequently interfere with daily activities and functioning. If you experience a sudden onset of floaters, if they are accompanied by flashes of light or vision loss, if you have pain or you have just experienced eye surgery or trauma, floaters could indicate a serious eye problem that requires immediate medical attention. There are a number of eye disorders associated with eye floaters including retinal detachment, retinal tear, vitreous bleeding, vitreous and retinal inflammation or eye tumors, all of which require medical treatment to avoid vision loss. If you have sudden onset of new floaters, do not wait to book an appointment with your eye doctor to confirm if the floaters are benign or need immediate surgical treatment.
Eye Care and Optical Store in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next.
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Visit Executive Park Eye Care in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Our office is located at 9240 Explorer Dr, Ste 100, Colorado Springs, CO, 80920. Please enter your zip code or city, state below for door-to-door directions.