Flashes & Floaters

Flashes and floaters can most likely be monitored by your doctor, but as these conditions progress, a surgery known as a vitrectomy may be necessary.

What Are Flashes and Floaters?

Of all macular conditions, you likely have some familiarity with flashes and floaters. Often occurring together, patients describe these as “sparks” or “moving spots” that slide through their vision. Flashes tend to be most apparent in low light; floaters appear when looking at a blank space such as the sky. Flashes and floaters don’t always affect both eyes as the aging process that causes them can happen at a different pace.

Flashes and floaters result from shrinkage in the eye’s vitreous. As the gel-like fluid tugs on your retina, the signals it sends to your optic nerve can be mixed, the vitreous can become thicker, and portions of it can solidify and detach. Even though this condition is normal, you should have it checked to ensure nothing more is happening. Flashes and floaters don’t usually require treatment.

Treatment for Flashes and Floaters

When flashes and floaters begin to impede your vision and restrict your daily activities, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy.

Vitrectomy surgery is an outpatient procedure that replaces vitreous with a special saline solution so that floaters in the vitreous are removed or to reestablish contact with the retina so that flashes are diminished.

Vitrectomy surgery can be used to treat other eye conditions. Generally, patients experience mild pain and discomfort from this procedure that may include wearing an eye patch. It is important to follow all pre- and post-op instructions.

What to Expect

If you have a vision problem that requires advanced treatment, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation at Vance Thompson Vision. It’s in your best interest to learn the source of any cloudy or distorted vision as soon as possible. Retina care, in particular, can be especially delicate and benefits from early intervention.

At your consultation, extensive testing and measurements will be performed on your eyes. Based on those results, your doctor will customize a care plan to fit your unique eyes and their condition(s). That care plan will be adjusted frequently based on how you respond to treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are flashes and floaters normal?

Flashes and floaters are a benign and common condition for people over the age of 50. As an age-related condition, flashes and floaters result from shrinkage in the vitreous inside your eye.

Can stress cause flashes and floaters?

Stress can adversely affect all parts of your body, including your eyes. However, there is no clinical evidence linking flashes and floaters to stress alone.

Do floaters need surgery?

Most patients live with their floaters with little trouble; however, if yours become too bothersome, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to alleviate them.

Is this condition covered by insurance?

Treatment and care of flashes and floaters is usually covered by insurance as this type of care is generally categorized as medically necessary.

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Early intervention truly is the best treatment. Call our friendly, professional team today to schedule your retina consultation.

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