Flashes & Floaters

flashes Floaters are blurry spots or squiggly lines in your vision that move. It is typically caused by debris in the eye’s vitreous gel. Floaters do not block your vision and are harmless. They can appear as tiny gray specks, cobwebs, squiggly lines or floating bugs. They appear to be in front of your eye but are actually floating inside.

Flashes are just that – flashes of light that last a few seconds that appear in your vision when the vitreous gel pulls or tugs on your retina.


Aging – as we grow older, the gel-like material called vitreous shrinks and causes cloudy clumps. Most common with nearsighted patients or those who have undergone cataract surgery.

The vitreous stays firmly attached to the retina but as we age, the vitreous gradually becomes thinner or more watery. By the time you are in your twenties or thirties, the vitreous may allow some of the clumps o move around inside the eye. This material creates a shadow over the retina and you see it as small floating spots. As we get older, the gel gets more jiggly and moves almost like water through the eye, causing even larger spots in your vision.

Other causes include: foreign matter in the vitreous, physical injury to the eye or other specific eye diseases.


Dr. Adelson will give you a full eye exam to ensure your floaters and flashes are harmless and not something more serious like a retinal tear or detachment. With a retinal problem – you would be seeing hundreds of small floating spots, persistent flashing light or partial blockage of a your vision. If you experience any of these, you should contact our office immediately.


Usually flashes and floaters do not indicate any serious eye issue. There is no way to eliminate flashes and floaters through surgery or medication. With time, your brain will adjust and get used to it being a part of your vision. Having flashes or floaters is a considered a very normal part of the aging process, but if you suddenly have an increase in the number or frequency or you are seeing flashes along with floaters, give us a call at 866-340-EYES to be examined by Dr. Adelson.