Floaters and Flashes Explained

  • Posted on: Jan 28 2015
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Floaters and Flashes ExplainedWhile they’re often harmless, floaters and flashes in vision are an issue that can sometimes reveal the presence of a more serious eye condition. Floaters appear as tiny specks or clouds in your field of vision, while flashes cause patients to see flashing lights or lightning streaks. They can be caused by anything from the aging process to retinal tears or detachments, and can cause a great deal of discomfort. Keep reading to learn more about floaters and flashes and what causes them.


Patients living with floaters see specks, circles, lines, cobwebs or clouds floating in their field of vision, often when looking at a blank background. While they appear to be floating in front of the eyes, floaters are actually small clumps of protein or other matter trapped inside the vitreous, the clear fluid that fills the inside of the eye.

Causes of floaters include:

  • The aging process, as the vitreous deteriorates over time
  • Retinal tear or detachment
  • Posterior uveitis, or inflammation in the back of the eye
  • Bleeding in the eye


Much like floaters, flashes can appear in a number of different ways. They most commonly appear as flashing lights or streaks of lightning, and they can cause a sensation similar to “seeing stars” following a blow to the head. Flashes can be short-lived in some cases, while others may continue to experience symptoms until the problem has been treated.

Causes of flashes include:

  • Detached or torn retina
  • Migraines
  • Aging

While floaters and flashes may not always be dangerous, it’s important to see an ophthalmologist if you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, especially if they develop suddenly.

If You’ve Noticed Any Floaters or Flashes in Your Vision, Contact Dr. Shammas Today.

To learn more about floaters and flashes, please contact Dr. H. John Shammas today to schedule your appointment.  Our offices are located in Lynwood, Downey, La Habra and Whittier, California. We look forward to serving you!

Posted in: Eye Health

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