We’ve all seen those little dark spots floating in front of our eyes. We tend to ignore them, and when we do try to look at them, they can move with our eye movements. What are these floaters, and are they dangerous? Read on to learn more.

What causes floaters in the eyes?

Floaters are specks, lines, or cobwebs that seem to hover in our vision. Normally, floaters are caused by a degeneration of the vitreous, the gel that fills the eye. As we age, this gel begins to shrink or degenerate. Small clumps start to float in the eye, or the strands start to cast small shadows on the retina.

Why do I see flashes?

Sometimes, the vitreous pulls on the retina as it breaks down. This can stimulate photoreceptors, which may lead to us seeing lightning streaks in our peripheral vision. These are called flashes. If you see flashes, it is recommended you see your eye doctor right away.

Should I do anything about them?

Omar Punjabi, MD

In most cases, floaters are harmless and don’t need any treatment. However, in some cases floaters may indicate a more serious eye condition.For example, they may be a sign of blood in the eye (caused by diabetes, an eye injury, or a stroke in the eye), a retinal tear, or in rare cases a retinal detachment. This is especially the case if you see a large surge of new floaters or flashes, or a dark shadow in your vision.

Floaters can also be a sign of infection, inflammation, hemorrhage, and, rarely, certain eye tumors.

“If you see flashing lights, or have a sudden increase in floaters, please see your eye doctor right away,” CEENTA Ophthalmologist Omar Punjabi, MD, said. “Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is critical in the diagnosis and management of several retinal diseases.”

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with Dr. Punjabi or any of CEENTA’s eye doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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August 22, 2018

Hello, I am currently a patient of Dr. Mark Brittain in Salisbury, NC. I am very near sighted with astigmatism. My eyes are very dry , and I have numerous floaters that are annoying. I have worn contact for over 40 yrs. Dr. Brittain suggested contacting your group to see if you are performing the surgery for floaters , and if so, what insurance if any are you accepting for the procedure. Thank you for any information you may share. All the Best, Kim Alexander, CRNA
- Kim Alexander

August 23, 2018

Good morning. To make an appointment with one of our doctors, please call 704-295-3000. They will be able to schedule you with one of our physicians.
Reply From: CEENTA

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