Ohio 513-333-EYES (3937)

Kentucky 513-333-EYES (3937)

LASIK 513-333-EYES (3937)

Flashes and Floaters

You may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. They are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky. Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye. Although the floaters appear to be in front of the eye, they are actually floating in the vitreous fluid inside the eye. What you see are the shadows they cast on the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and allows you to see. Floaters can have different shapes: little dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs.

What Causes Floaters?

When people reach middle age, the vitreous gel may start to thicken or shrink, forming clumps or strands inside the eye. The vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. It is a common cause of floaters.

Posterior vitreous detachment is more common for people who:

  • are nearsighted
  • have undergone cataract operations
  • have had YAG laser surgery of the eye
  • have had inflammation inside the eye

The appearance of floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. You should see an ophthalmologist right away if you suddenly develop new floaters, especially if you are over 45 years of age.

Are Floaters Ever Serious?

The retina can tear if the shrinking vitreous gel pulls away from the wall of the eye. This sometimes causes a small amount of bleeding in the eye that may appear as new floaters.

A torn retina is always a serious problem, since it can lead to a retinal detachment. You should see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible if:

  • even one new floater appears suddenly
  • you see sudden flashes of light

If you notice other symptoms, like the loss of side vision, you should see your ophthalmologist.

What can be done about floaters?

Because you need to know if your retina is torn, call your ophthalmologist if a new floater appears suddenly. Floaters can get in the way of clear vision, which may be quite annoying, especially if you are trying to read. You can try moving your eyes, looking up and then down to move the floaters out of the way. While some floaters may remain in your vision, many of them will fade over time and become less bothersome. Even if you have had some floaters for years, you should have an eye examination immediately if you notice new ones.

What causes flashing lights?

When the vitreous gel rubs or pulls on the retina, you may see what look like flashing lights or lightning streaks. You may have experienced this same sensation if you have ever been hit in the eye and seen “stars.”

When the vitreous rubs or pulls on the retina, it creates a sensation of flashing lights. The flashes of light can appear off and on for several weeks or months. As we grow older, it is more common to experience flashes. If you notice the sudden appearance of light flashes, you should visit your ophthalmologist immediately to see if the retina has been torn.

Office Locations Serving Greater Cincinnati

Ohio

Anderson

1060 Nimitzview Dr., Suite 105
Cincinnati, OH 45230

Phone: (513) 232-2500 Fax: (513) 232-2777

Clifton - Reading Rd

2055 Reading Rd.,  Suite 330
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Phone: (513) 381-1900 Fax: (513) 287-6403

Colerain- Midwest Eye Center

6779 Colerain Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45239

Phone: (513) 741-1313 Fax: (513) 385-3995

Eastgate- Midwest Eye Center

4452 Eastgate Blvd, Suite 305
Cincinnati, OH 45245

Phone: (513) 752-5700 Fax: (513) 752-5716

Hamilton

1017 Main St.
Hamilton, OH 45013

Phone: (513) 868-2181 Fax: (513) 868-2893 Optical Shop: (513) 868-2885

Hillsboro

1275 North High St.
Hillsboro, OH 45133

Phone: (513) 232-2500 Fax: (513) 232-2777

Hyde Park

2135 Dana Ave., Suite 310
Cincinnati, OH 45207

Phone: (513) 221-7788 Phone: (513) 487-5223 Optical Shop: (513) 487-5224

Kenwood - Montgomery Rd.

7730 Montgomery Rd. Suite 120
Cincinnati, OH 45236

Phone: (513) 791-5999 Fax: (513) 791-4567 Optical Shop: (513) 936-5044

Kenwood Surgery Center

8044 Montgomery Rd., Suite 155
Cincinnati, OH 45236

Phone: (513) 791-7967 Fax: (513) 791-1473

North College Hill

1577B Goodman Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45224

Phone: (513) 729-1321 Fax: (513) 729-2873 Optical Shop: (513) 729-1756

Oxford

5141 Morning Sun Rd.
Oxford, OH 45056

Phone: (513) 523-2123 Fax: (513) 523-2125

Springdale

12124 Sheraton Ln.
Springdale, OH 45246

Phone: (513) 671-5500 Fax: (513) 671-7854

West Chester- Midwest Eye Center

8760 Union Centre Blvd.
West Chester, OH 45069

Phone: (513) 454-0544 Fax: (513) 454-0551

Western Hills

6909 Good Samaritan Dr., Suite B
Cincinnati, OH 45247

Phone: (513) 389-9911 Fax: (513) 389-7854

Kentucky

Crestview Hills- Chancellor Dr. #1

2865 Chancellor Dr., Suite 210
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

Phone: (859) 331-6616 Fax: (859) 331-5760

Crestview Hills- Chancellor Dr. #2

2865 Chancellor Dr., Suite 215
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

Phone: (859) 331-5600 Drs. Daun, Devine, Khaja, Dykuizen Phone: (859) 331-0058 Dr. Sanitato Phone: (513) 232-2500 Dr. Schott Fax: (513) 791-4567

Crestview Hills - Thomas More

500 Thomas More Parkway
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

Phone: (859) 341-4525 Fax: (859) 341-4993