LASER VISION CORRECTION | OPTICAL DEPARTMENT ....... Charlotte (704) 364-7400 ........Huntersville (704) 895-8200

FLASHES & FLOATERS

Patients frequently call our office and describe seeing spots in their vision. These spots, or “floaters”, may be new to you, or ones you have may have become more numerous or noticeable, and they may be accompanied by “flashes” of light. If this happens to you, your vision may be unaffected, but you may see a fogginess to your vision or a shadow in your peripheral vision. This can be a warning sign of a retinal detachment, so we will recommend a visit to our office to see one of our doctors, have your pupil dilated and your retina examined for any signs of a tear or retinal detachment.

Fortunately, most patients who present to our office with these symptoms have no signs of a retina problem. In those cases, the floaters are usually due to a vitreous detachment. The vitreous is the fluid-like gel that fills up the large back chamber of the eyeball. As we all get older, the vitreous becomes more fluid-like and begins to shift around in the eye. This normally causes no pain or changes in the vision, but in some unlucky patients a sudden shift of the vitreous can tear the retina or retinal blood vessels. This will cause flashes of light and more floaters as the blood cells move around in the eye. There is nothing you can do to prevent this from occurring. But it is important to have your eye examined if these symptoms occur. If a tear is found, a laser can be used to close the tear and keep it from becoming a retinal detachment. If a retinal detachment has already occurred, prompt surgical correction of the detachment can prevent permanent damage to your eyesight.

Floaters and flashes can also rarely be due to other conditions - poorly controlled high blood pressure, diabetic retinopathy, blood clots in the retinal blood vessels, normal post-operative changes after eye surgery, viral infections in the eye, autoimmune diseases like Lupus, and ocular tumors. The ophthalmologists at Charlotte Ophthalmology Clinic are trained to perform a thorough eye exam to detect these problems, determine what is the cause of your symptoms, and begin appropriate therapy.

Please contact our office if you have these symptoms so arrangements can be made to see you.

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