An Eye Exam Can Diagnose the Cause of Flashers and Floaters By Walter Choate on October 02, 2014

Man and woman with attractive smiles walking hand-in-handAs a health precaution and a means of caring for the eyes, it is recommended that people schedule periodic eye exams, even if there are no signs of eye conditions affecting eye health or vision. In addition to these regular eye exams, patients should schedule an eye examination if any unusual and/or sudden eye symptoms develop. While these symptoms may not always be a sign of a problem, it is always better to air on the side of caution, as some conditions can cause a rapid deterioration of the eyes’ functions. At Choate Eye Associates, one condition that we urge our patients in Nashville to see our eye doctors for is flashers and floaters. If flashes and floaters are being caused by an eye condition, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

What Are Flashers and Floaters?

Floaters are small obstructions that can appear in one’s field of vision. Described as floaters because they never seem to keep still and patients are unable to focus clearly on these objects, floaters may appear similar to spots or cobwebs. It is fairly common for patients to occasionally notice floaters in their field of vision, particularly if looking at a bright sky or bright, white computer screen. Although floaters may be an annoyance, they are not always a cause for concern, but should still be discussed with one of our eye doctors.

Flashers are a condition in which patients see a sudden bright flash of light. If a patient is experiencing flashers, along with a substantial amount of floaters, we recommend that an eye exam be scheduled as soon as possible, as flashers and floaters may indicate a serious eye condition.

What Causes Flashes and Floaters?

As stated above, floaters are not always a sign of a serious eye condition. Behind the lens of the eyes is the vitreous. When people are born, the vitreous is a gel-like consistency, but as people age, this area begins to liquefy. When it does so, it is not unusual for particles of the gel-like substance to break loose. The shadow of these gel pieces can create the appearance of floaters.

While not all are signs of a problem, some floaters, especially when combined with the presence of flashers, may indicate a more serious problem. Flashes and floaters that come on suddenly may be a sign of retinal detachment. This is a serious problem that, if left untreated, could result in permanent loss of vision. There are many conditions that could cause retinal detachment, including the following:

  • A retinal tear
  • Diabetes
  • Severe nearsightedness
  • LASIK complications

If the retina has become detached, surgical treatment will be required immediately.

Schedule an Appointment

At Choate Eye Associates, we offer a range of services to meet our patient’s vision and eye health needs. From regular eye exams to diagnosis and treatment of urgent eye conditions, we can help you with your eye health needs. If you are concerned with the health of your eyes or are simply due for a regular examination, schedule an eye care appointment with one of our experienced eye doctors at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Dr. Choate

Choate Eye Associates

Choate Eye Associates has been delivering high-quality, compassionate eye care to the Nashville community since 1979. We are affiliated with various leading organizations in the field, including: 

  • American Academy of Optometry
  • American Optometric Association 
  • National Board of Examiners in Optometry 

To schedule a consultation at our practice, call us at (615) 851-7575 or request an appointment online

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"I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam." Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient

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