As you age, your eyes can go through changes. These changes can cause eye floaters and flashes of light (also called flashes). If you are experiencing eye floaters and/or flashes then this article is for you. Here, Dr. George G. Khouri of Palm Beach Eye Center explains when you should worry about eye floaters and flashes and provides tips and treatments.
What Are Eye Floaters and Flashes?
The most common cause of eye floaters and flashes is age. There are countless ways to describe eye floaters, and they tend to appear differently to everyone. If you have eye floaters, you may see any of the following:
- Squiggly lines
- Small shapes
- Small strings or strands
There are countless ways to describe eye flashes as well. The most common descriptions for what a person sees are the following:
- Shooting stars
- Bright lights
- Lightning streaks
- Camera flashes
When Should You Worry About Eye Floaters and Flashes?
If you are experiencing eye floaters and/or flashes, you should tell your eye doctor. In most instances, eye floaters and flashes are a normal part of the aging process. However, they can also be a sign of a more serious health issue.
If you suddenly have more eye floaters or flashes than normal, you should reach out to your eye doctor immediately. This could be a sign of a serious condition such as a retinal tear or retinal detachment.
Eye floaters can also be confused with other health conditions. You should pay attention to vision changes if you suffer from any of the following health conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Multiple sclerosis
Eye flashes can also be related to migraines. If they last minutes, they are usually associated with migraine whereas if they last seconds, they are usually associated with traction of the vitreous gel on the retina which could cause a retinal tear or detachment. If you are experiencing eye flashes with or without migraines, you should speak with your eye doctor.
Tips for Eye Floaters and Flashes
If you have eye floaters and flashes that are a result of aging, then you are most likely going to have to learn to live with them. Eye floaters may become less noticeable over time. This is usually due to neuroadaptation, a process by the brain which conditions you to ignore them.
You can improve your eye health by leading a healthy lifestyle focused on proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and hydration. You may find vitamins and supplements helpful as well. You should also take breaks from watching television, using your phone and staring at a computer screen.
Treatments for Eye Floaters and Flashes
Eye floaters and flashes related to age will usually be left alone. If the eye floaters are seriously impacting your vision, then surgery may be an option. You should talk to your eye doctor about the potential risks involved.
Eye floaters and flashes that have other causes are going to be treated by addressing the underlying cause, such as a retinal tear, a retinal detachment or a migraine. It is important to talk to your eye doctor about your medical history and current health conditions. Health conditions can impact your treatment process.
If you are experiencing eye floaters and flashes, contact Palm Beach Eye Center today and schedule a consultation.