Flashes & floaters


What are Flashers and Floaters?

Floaters are extremely common and can occur at any age but with increased frequency as we age. They are often (but not always) associated with flashes of light in the eye. 

What do Floaters look like?

Floaters can appear as black spots, threads or cobwebs which move around in the eye.  They are easier to see on a bright day or when looking at a bright background.

What causes Floaters?

The centre of the eyeball is made up of a clear jelly-like substance that transmits light to the retina at the back of our eye. The retina then sends this image to the brain. In a young person, this vitreous jelly is attached to the retina.  As we age, the vitreous jelly changes in structure and we develop liquid pockets and clumps of collagen fibre.  These collagen fibres cast a shadow on the retina and appear as floaters in our vision.

Should I have my eyes tested if I develop Floaters or flashing lights?

Yes, an urgent eye examination is advised any time new/ increased Floaters are noticed or if we develop flashing lights in our eyes.

There is a risk the collapsing vitreous jelly and resulting traction can tear the retina.  The liquified jelly can get behind the retina, causing it to peel away, leading to a retinal detachment.  Bleeding which occurs at this time can be seen as a shower of Floaters.

Book an Eye Examination

A careful examination of the back of your eye and the vitreous jelly means any problem will be diagnosed and treated, reducing the risk of a serious problem occurring.