Should I Be Concerned Seeing Flashing Lights?

Seeing Flashing Lights or Floaters Can Call For Concern

While many people experience Flashes of light or Floaters (movement of shadows), what a lot of our patients are unaware of is the risks associated with seeing unusual lights. 

A sensation of flashing lights can be caused when the vitreous (the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the middle of the eye) shrinks and pulls on the retina. A torn retina is always a serious problem, and the appearance of floaters and flashes may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. With severe risks resulting in retinal detachment, we urge to see one of our optometrists right away if you suddenly see flashing lights or develop floaters.  

What are floaters?  


While Floaters are common,especially in elderly patients and may not cause for alarm, they can have consequences on the health of your eye and should be examined by a eye professional.

  • Floaters are small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision.  
  • Floaters can have different shapes, such as little dots, circles, lines, clouds, or cobwebs. 
  • What you see are the shadows Floaters cast on the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and allows you to see  
  • Floaters can be caused by normal aging of the eye when the vitreous jelly begins to shrink. – Other causes of floaters include the sudden release of blood cells from the retinal blood vessels 
  •  Floaters are more visible in bright light

What are flashes?  


Flashes of light do cause for more urgency. With retinal detachment a threat, it is pertinent that if you are experiencing Flashes you should have them inspected closer by an eye professional. Unlike your local GP, Eye Care professionals and specialists have both the qualifications and the equipment to look and inspect Flashes.

  • When we are young, the gel inside your eye (the vitreous) is firmly attached to the back of your eye, however as we age the vitreous gel naturally becomes more liquid and collapses away from the retina.
  • Flashes occur when the vitreous gel bumps, rubs, or tugs against the retina.
  • Flashes are movements of light that are an unusual occurrence or not caused by natural surrounding light 
  • Short Sighted (Myopies) are more likely  to experience flashes as their eyes are already stretched and under tension. 
  • Flashes are commonly seen as fast movements of light or lightning strikes usually in the extreme corners of your vision. 

Early prevention is the best prevention, make sure to book an eye test if you are experiencing floaters or flashes, and call Beckenham Optometrist in Avalon Beach on 9918 0616 if you have any queries and questions!  

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