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Floaters and flashes in your vision: what you need to know from your Los Angeles eye doctors

Published on
January 21, 2023

In this blog, we'll discuss what floaters and flashes are, potential causes, and why it's important to have them evaluated by an eye doctor.

What are floaters and flashes in your vision?

Floaters are small spots or shapes that appear to float in front of your vision. They may look like black or gray dots, circles, or strings and can be most noticeable when looking at a plain background, such as a clear blue sky or a white wall. Floaters are caused by clumps of cells or bits of debris in the vitreous humor, the clear gel that fills the space between your lens and retina.

Flashes of light, also known as photopsia, are brief bursts of light or lightning streaks that can appear in one or both eyes. They may look like stars, fireworks, or camera flashes and can be triggered by a variety of different factors.

What are the different causes of flashes and floaters?

Floaters are normal in the majority of cases, and can be considered a part of aging. Most adults have a few floaters in their vision, and even children and teenagers may have them without any obvious pathology or disease. 

There are many factors that can cause flashes, including:

  • Clumps of cells or bits of debris in the vitreous humor
  • Age-related shrinkage of the vitreous gel
  • Injury to the eye
  • Infection or inflammation in the eye
  • Bleeding into the eye
  • Complications from cataract surgery

Flashes of light can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Retinal detachment
  • Vitreous detachment
  • Migraines
  • Trauma
  • Eye infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Other medical conditions

Who is at risk for flashes and floaters?

Patients who are at risk for experiencing flashes and floaters may include the following:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Over 50 years of age
  • Eye injury or inflammation
  • Certain eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, or posterior vitreous detachment
  • Cataract
  • Having a history of eye surgery
  • Trauma to the eye
  • High myopia
  • Inflammation inside the eye
  • Inflammation or infection of the uvea (middle layer of the eye)
  • Certain medications

What should you do if you see flashes and floaters in your vision?

In general, randomly seeing flashes of light or having floating squiggles or dots in your vision is normal, however it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam in order to rule out anything more serious. If the flashes or floaters in your vision are sudden or very common that may be a serious sign and you should schedule an emergency eye exam with us right away. 

If you experience flashes and floaters in your vision, it is important to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor as soon as possible. If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist or live too far from our office in Bellflower, you might begin your search online by entering “eye doctor near me” or “emergency eye exam near me”.

These symptoms can be a sign of something more serious, such as a retinal detachment or vitreous detachment. A retinal detachment is particularly vision-threatening, but if it's caught early, you may be able to preserve your vision.

Additionally, you should avoid rubbing your eyes or pressing on them, avoid straining your eyes, and avoid excessively bending or lifting heavy objects, as these activities can cause symptoms to worsen and even cause retinal detachment. It's also a good idea to reduce or stop any activities that could lead to a head injury as trauma to the head or eye is one of the cause of retinal detachment.

Visit our eye doctor in Bellflower for an eye emergency or to evaluate flashes and floaters in your vision

If you have noticed any new floaters or flashes of light in your vision, it's important not to delay visiting our eye doctor. Our eye care professionals are available for emergency appointments, and early detection and treatment can help preserve your vision and prevent serious complications. Don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor if you are experiencing any new symptoms. To schedule an evaluation, please call (562) 925-6591.

Testimonials


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.


Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.


Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!


Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.


Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.


Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.


Daniel G.
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