Eye Flashes, A Fairly Common Phenomenon Seen by Our Ophthalmologist in Coldwater

Many patients schedule an appointment at Holicki Eye Centers & Optical in Coldwater, or one of our locations in Sturgis, and Angola when they see flashes of light in one of their eyes. Their descriptions vary from lightning bolts or pinpricks of light to streaks of light, arcs, sparks, or shooting stars. But no matter what descriptive phrase they choose, they are referring to bright white vision disturbances that last little more than a split-second. These are not to be confused with floaters, tiny lines or spots which patients tell our eye doctor to remind them of cobwebs, bubbles, or the particularly creative description, "tadpoles".


The Difference Between Flashes and Floaters

While it's not uncommon for floaters to be mistaken for something floating across the sky, they are actually strands of vitreous within the eye. Vitreous is the jelly-like substance in the back of the eyeball that ensures it keeps its round shape. When these strands detach and find their way into the path of light flowing into the retina, the light-sensitive lining of the eye, they can appear as floating spots, especially when looking into bright light or a white object. Most people will experience floaters,  as they get older when the vitreous becomes more liquid inconsistency.

Flashes, on the other hand, are sudden intensities light that appears quickly, only to disappear as quickly as they came.  Flashes occur when the vitreous gel shrinks and tugs on the retina, and as a result places pressure on the retina. Like floaters, people will experience occasional flashes as they get older and while they should not cause fear, are something to discuss during your next eye exam with our ophthalmologist in Coldwater.

There are instances however when flashes and floaters can be a sign of a serious problem. An increase in the incidence of either floaters or flashes, especially if they appear together can be caused by many things, a hemorrhage in one of the retina's tiny blood vessels, a tumor, abnormal blood vessels caused by diabetes, or a tear in the retina that if not treated immediately can result in blindness if not treated immediately.  

Call your Eye Doctor in Coldwater, Angola, or Sturgis Immediately if You

  • Have never seen a flasher before but now are seeing them frequently 
  • Experience flashers from time to time but now they are more frequent and brighter in intensity.
  • See flashes of light as well as cloudy vision or dark spots
  • See a Dark Curtain Descending Across Your Field of Vision

Let Us Help You!

It's always better to let us get to know you before a problem arises. So why not schedule an appointment with our ophthalmologist in Coldwater, so an eye doctor can establish a baseline to compare it to from year to year? Give us a call anytime, and if Coldwater is not convenient for you, we also have a Holicki Eye Centers & Optical in Sturgis and Angola.

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