Diagnosing and Treating Floaters and Flashes of Light in Shreveport
The Lusk Difference means looking at every part of your eye from every angle, and that’s exactly how we approach floaters and flashes. Even though they’re usually harmless, it’s perfectly normal to want some peace of mind when you experience changes in your vision. An eye exam with the experts at Lusk Eye Specialist involves dilation and possibly taking pictures of your eyes that enable us to get to the bottom of your flashes and floaters.
At Lusk Eye Specialists, you’re a part of our family. That means we take the time to make sure you understand everything going on with your eyes. Keep reading to learn more about floaters and flashes, and when to be concerned about certain changes in your vision.
What are Floaters and Flashes?
The human eye is amazing and complex. It’s filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous. This gel contained the vascular system that built the eye during in-utero development. As a natural part of the aging process, the vitreous liquefies and shrinks which can cause floaters and flashes to appear. Most people will experience flashes of light, floaters, or both over the course of their lives, but what are they really?
When the eye’s vitreous starts to liquefy and shrink with age, particles are pulled off as the vitreous pulls away from the retina. When these particles float across the light coming into the eye, it causes a shadow on your retina. Floaters are just the shadows that you’re seeing. They can look like specks, clouds, strings, or cobwebs drifting across your vision. These floaters stay suspended in the vitreous throughout life but are “tuned out” by the brain and become less noticeable.
Flashes are also caused by the natural shrinking and detachment of the vitreous from the retina. As the vitreous gel shrinks, it stays connected to the retina by strings. These strings can pull on the retina, causing the appearance of streaks or flashes in the vision. If you start to notice new flashes of light, you will want to schedule an appointment to have these symptoms evaluated in our office.
So, You Have Floaters or Flashes (Or Both): Now What?
If you start experiencing new flashes of light or floaters in your vision, give our office a call. One of our helpful staff members will ask you a series of questions to determine how urgently you need to be seen.
The vitreous will naturally liquefy and shrink with age, but sometimes it pulls too much, too hard, or too fast, causing damage to the retina. In a small percentage of individuals, there is an abnormal detachment from the retina where part of the retina is torn or lifted loose. This will need urgent attention to be repaired. Also, if your floaters or flashes become more frequent or distracting, or are accompanied by pain, more urgent attention may be needed.
For most people, floaters and flashes occur naturally over time, and pose only a mild inconvenience. It’s important to discuss any changes in vision, like floaters and flashes, with your doctor during your annual eye exam.
Floaters and Flashes Can Be Warning Signs
Sometimes, floaters and flashes can be an indication of a more serious problem with your eyes. In fact, they can be a sign of:
- Retinal Tears: A retinal tear occurs when there’s a break in the retinal tissue. This usually starts out with flashes of light, and then patients may see dozens of tiny floaters. Tears are not usually accompanied by pain or vision loss. Retinal tears may require urgent treatment.
- Retinal Detachment: When part of the retinal tissue lifts away from the back of the eye, it’s called a retinal detachment. It can be very serious and requires timely treatment to prevent serious vision loss. Most detachments are a result of a retinal tear.
When a retinal problem occurs, floaters and flashes may be the only warning signs that something is amiss. Other symptoms may include your vision appearing shaded or blocked. A loss of your central vision may also be an indication.
The Lusk Difference: Assessing Floaters and Flashes in Shreveport, LA
Lusk Eye Specialists has become one of the most trusted names in the Ark-La-Tex because we take any changes in your vision seriously. We care about your sight and want to know if floaters and flashes impact your daily life. Although most floaters and flashes eventually decrease without any treatment, if you develop new floaters or flashes, it’s important for one of our doctors to do a thorough evaluation.
We’ll dilate your eyes to get a full view of your retina. We may even do some imaging to get a clear picture of what’s happening inside your eye and explain everything to you so that you fully understand your treatment options. In the event of a more serious retinal condition, we’ll also add a retinal specialist to your medical team.
Not knowing what’s going on with your eyes can be frustrating. That’s why we think it’s so important to make sure that not only do our patients have access to experienced doctors and advanced treatment; but also, the education necessary to feel at ease about their eye health. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Lusk Eye Specialists at (318) 222-5555, or request an appointment online.