20 Apr How to Recognize and Manage Floaters and Flashes, Which Can Be a Sign of Retinal Detachment
Floaters and flashes are common visual disturbances that many people experience at some point in their lives. In most cases, these symptoms are harmless and temporary. However, in some cases, floaters and flashes can be a sign of a serious condition called retinal detachment. It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of retinal detachment and what to do if you experience them.
What are floaters and flashes?
Floaters are small, dark spots or specks that appear in your vision, often when you’re looking at a plain, bright background. They’re caused by small specks of debris that float around in the vitreous fluid inside your eye.
Flashes are brief, bright flashes of light that appear in your vision. They’re caused by the vitreous tugging on the retina, which sends a signal to the brain that’s interpreted as a flash of light.
When are floaters and flashes a sign of retinal detachment?
In some cases, floaters and flashes can be a sign of a serious condition called retinal detachment. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina, the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye, separates from the underlying tissue. This can cause permanent vision loss if it’s not treated promptly.
If you experience sudden, intense floaters and flashes, along with a dark curtain or shadow in your peripheral vision, you should seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms can indicate a retinal tear or detachment, which requires urgent treatment to prevent permanent vision loss.
How are floaters and flashes treated?
In most cases, floaters and flashes are harmless and don’t require treatment. However, if they’re caused by a retinal tear or detachment, prompt treatment is essential to prevent permanent vision loss.
Treatment for retinal tears and detachments typically involves surgery. There are several types of surgery that can be used to reattach the retina, including laser surgery and pneumatic retinopexy. Your eye doctor will determine the best course of treatment based on the severity and location of your retinal detachment.