Many people over time will experience the onset of spots, floaters, and/or flashes of light in their vision. Naturally, this experience raises concern and needs to be evaluated by your eye doctor. This article will review the most common reasons for spots, floaters, and flashes and what you should do if you experience of these symptoms.
Anatomy of the Eye
Everyone’s eye is filled with a clear gel called the vitreous. The vitreous gives the eyeball support and you look through the vitreous as you process your vision. Over time the vitreous will undergo some chemical changes and becomes more liquid-like and this is when you may experience spots, floaters, or flashes of light. As the vitreous liquefies it will pull away from the retina. This is called a vitreous detachment. This should not be confused with a retinal detachment which is more serious. When the vitreous tugs on the retina, you may see a flash of light in your vision, usually off to the side. As the vitreous goes through these changes, you may also see spots and floaters in your vision that may look like dots, cobwebs, or strands in your line of sight.
Why you need to see your eye doctor…
As these changes occur it’s very important that you see your eye doctor for a dilated evaluation of your retina. As the vitreous tugs on the retina and eventually separates from it, the retina may develop a tear or a hole. A retinal break like this may turn into a sight threatening retinal detachment. If a hole or tear is found, treatment can be administered to seal the defect, thus preventing a retinal detachment and loss of vision. So, if you’re experiencing any spots, flashes, or floaters, you must call your eye doctor right away. In many cases, the changes are simple due to the shifting of the vitreous gel, but those same symptoms may also be from a tear or detachment of the retina. It’s too important to ignore the problem when your eye doctor may be able to prevent you from losing your vision.