Flashes and Floaters
If you suddenly notice floaters or flashes in your vision, you should have your eyes checked as soon as possible, preferably the same day. This may necessitate a visit to your local eye casualty due to the possibility of a retinal detachment. The centre of the eyeball between the retina and the crystalline lens is filled with a clear, gel like substance called the vitreous. With age, the vitreous thins, contracts and moves forward, separating from the retina to which it is loosely attached in a few places. This is called a posterior vitreous separation or detachment, a very common, usually harmless condition. As the vitreous pulls away from the retina, it is often accompanied by light flashes and floaters. Floaters are caused by tiny bits of vitreous gel casting a shadows on the retina. Flashes occur when the vitreous gel tugs on the sensitive retinal tissue. These can very easily be confused with more serious causes of flashes and floaters, namely, a retinal tear or retinal detachment. Head trauma may also cause floaters and flashes. Occasionally, flashes of light are caused by neurological problems such as migraine but these follow a different pattern. The flashes of light are seen in both eyes (like an aura) and usually last 20-30 minutes and may or may not be accompanied by severe headaches.
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