Occasionally, small dots, lines
or ‘cobwebs’ may float into our
vision. When this happens very
often, and is accompanied by
flashes of light in your vision,
the condition may be more
flying lines or
dots that you
may sometimes see moving in your
field of vision. You usually see floaters
when you are looking at a plain bright
background, such as a blue sky.
Flashes are illusions of flashing lights
or lightning streaks. Flashes may
appear on and off for several weeks
Floaters are caused by tiny clumps
of gel or cellular debris inside the
vitreous (a jelly-like fluid) that fills
the inside cavity of the eye. The
fl oaters appear to be in front of the
eye but they are actually floating in
the vitreous fluid inside the eye. They cast their shadows on the retina, the
light-sensing inner layer of the eye.
Moving your eyes up and down creates
currents within the vitreous and moves
the floaters away from your direct line of
Floaters result from the normal ageing
process when the vitreous fluid
degenerates. Flashes also result from the
normal ageing process and are usually
not a cause for worry.
Floaters and flashes are only a matter
for concern if the degenerated vitreous
pulls away from the retina and tears
it. This can cause bleeding in the eye,
and may appear as new floaters. Severe
retinal tearing may develop into a
retinal detachment, causing vision loss.
Therefore, it is important to see your eye
doctor when you see a sudden onset of
many new floaters or flashes.
Floaters and flashes are caused by
ageing and cannot be prevented.
However, you should always
maintain good eye health and
have your eyes checked regularly.
There is no treatment or cure for floaters
or flashes. They usually diminish over
time but will not disappear.
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