Tag Archives: floaters

The Facts on Flashes and Floaters

Floaters are very common and can be a very scary symptom.  Here is an article I wrote last month for EzineArticles that answers patients’ most common questions about floaters and floaters.

Flashes and Floaters – Get the Facts on This Common Eye Condition

By Dr. Richard A. Driscoll

“Doctor I saw dark spots and flashes of light in my eyes and I thought I should come in and have you make sure everything is alright” are words commonly heard by eye doctors and as a result a common cause of urgent visits to their offices. Flashes or floaters can be the signs of serious problems and as a result they should always be investigated by your eye doctor. Merely having floaters is not generally a problem; it is the recent onset of floaters that requires attention.

Flashes and floaters are the most commonly reported symptoms of changes in the vitreous humor, a very fibrous yet clear gel that makes up the back 2/3 of the eye. Floaters occur when a bunch of these fibers clump together and cast a shadow on the retina, causing a person to see a black spot. Patients often describe these floaters as looking like a cobweb. Nearsighted people experience floaters more often. Most people have some floaters, however they are either small enough that they are not bothersome or the brain has learned to ignore them. With the right lighting conditions almost anyone can see their floaters. Looking up at an overcast sky or a large, lightly colored wall improves ones ability to see their floaters. Continue reading