It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Rahul Reddy. Click here to read more
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Rahul Reddy. Click here to read more Patient Portal Career Center (602) 242-4928

Floaters and Flashes: When to Worry About Your Retinal Health

Suddenly seeing eye floaters for the first time, experiencing vision loss and perceiving flashes of light are good reasons to seek medical care. Waiting to treat issues associated with eye diseases or disorders can seriously and possibly permanently affect vision. It may be hard to differentiate when you should wait it out regarding floaters and flashes and when to worry about your retinal health. As always, Associated Retina Consultants will remind our patients that the best way to prevent and combat retinal disease is with a full comprehensive eye exam that includes retinal imaging to assess and monitor the full scope of the eyes, including the back of the eye where the retina is positioned.

Spots in vision that look like black or gray specks, squiggly lines or strings that drift across the eye are called eye floaters. Most eye floaters are caused by age-related changes due to the vitreous, the gel-like substance that fills the eye, liquifying and contracting. This causes scattered clumps of collagen fibers to form, casting small shadows on the retina. Although painless, eye floaters can signal disruption to the retina as it gets torn or pulled out of its normal position that may result in a retinal tear or detachment, both of which could lead to loss of sight.

Changes in the vitreous can not only bring about eye floaters, but flashes of light too. As the vitreous gel changes consistent with age, extreme nearsightedness or a previous eye surgery, it separates from the retina. If the gel adheres to the retina, eye conditions can develop. Flashes of light appear when the vitreous gel fails to separate cleanly causing friction on portions of the retina that may cause a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment will look like a dark or gray curtain covering the eye distorting vision. If a retinal detachment is diagnosed, you will likely need immediate surgery to prevent or minimize vision loss.

While remaining calm may be difficult to do if experiencing eye floaters or flashes, retinal tears or detachments can be repaired if you receive the necessary and timely medical treatment. Get yourself to an eye doctor immediately if you experience either of these symptoms out of precaution as the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes of light in one or both eyes are early warning signs of retinal health issues. Sensitivity to light, blurred vision, inability to see in dim light and tunnel vision are additional symptoms that may accompany the floaters and flashes and indicate the time is now for when to worry about your retinal health.

A dilated eye exam will give your answers about the health and function of your retina. Schedule your appointment with Associated Retina Consultants by calling 602-242-4928 or clicking here WEBSITE for more information.