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Flashes and floaters, what do I do?

Flashes and floaters

Have you ever experienced flashes of light or noticed dark floaters that look like tiny tadpoles moving around your eye? If yes, don’t worry. We’ve all experienced flashes and floaters at some point and they’re usually not a cause for concern.

That being said, it’s important to understand more about them as they can be linked to a more serious condition like retinal detachment. Read on for everything you need to know about flashes and floaters!

Understanding Floaters and Flashes


Eye floaters may appear as squiggly lines, small dark dots, or wispy shapes. Eye flashes may appear as streaks or bursts of light. They are actually the shadows of cells and fibers inside the gel-like portion of the eye. It’s common for floaters and flashes to appear in people with normal, healthy eyes. They are most likely harmless and will eventually go away on their own or become less obvious as you get used to them. If they bother you, you can reduce eye floaters by wearing dark sunglasses so you notice them less.

Causes of Flashes and Floaters

It’s common to see flashes and floaters, especially as we age. Typically, they’re caused by posterior vitreous detachment, a harmless process where the gel inside your eye changes. While they can also happen for no obvious reason, it’s possible that they may be caused by eye trauma, migraine headaches, or retinal detachment. This is a serious condition. If not treated by an eye care professional, retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.

When to See a Doctor

If you’ve had flashes and floaters for a long time, your vision is not affected, and they are not getting worse, they are probably harmless. However, it’s important to see a doctor if:

  • the number of flashes or floaters increase
  • they’re accompanied by eye pain or blurred vision
  • they appear suddenly
  • they begin after an eye injury or surgery
  • it appears as though a dark curtain or shadow is moving across your eye.

Book your Appointment

If you’re seeing flashes and floaters and worried that they may be a sign of a more serious issue, please don’t hesitate to book an appointment. We would be happy to help you.