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Flashes & Floaters

It is common for patients to complain of small specks or clouds that can be seen against a blank wall or clear blue sky. Sometimes these images can be described as floating spider-webs, spots or squiggly lines. Over time you will become less aware of these floaters as they fade or the brain learns to ignore them. Therefore, while some floaters may remain in your vision, they do not cause any problems. Flashes, however, appear as twinkles or lightning streaks in your vision.


As part of a normal aging process, your vitreous gel may shrink, forming tiny clumps inside your eye. Floaters are simply the shadows cast on the retina by the resulting clumps. The appearance of flashes occurs as a result of the shrinking of the vitreous, while it tugs on the retina. Any sudden increase or new onset of flashes and floaters can be a sign of a retinal detachment or tear; it is important to call us right away if you experience these signs.

Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the cause and severity of your symptoms. Most cases require no treatment when symptoms are mild and not caused by a tear or detachment.
If floaters are persistent and you are examined by one of our providers, you may be a candidate for our laser treatment to reduce the number of floaters, called YAG laser vitreolysis.