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Chesapeake Eye Care – What are Flashes and Floaters in Vision?

Chesapeake Eye Care – What are Flashes and Floaters in Vision?


Chesapeake Eye Care – What are Flashes and Floaters in Vision?

By Dr. Amber Teten, Eye Care Specialist – Optometrist Chesapeake

Are you the type who goes to their annual eye exam to maintain proper eye care? Perhaps you wear the appropriate pair of glasses, such as sunglasses when you are outside or a pair of blue light-filtered lenses when attending those zoom calls on the computer. Or perhaps you wear contacts and are diligent in maintaining proper eye care by taking out your contact lenses at the end of each day. You are doing everything that one could do regarding eye care. However, maybe you have experienced a flash or a floater in your vision.

You may be thinking of needing to go to your eye doctor or searching for a top eye doctor in Chesapeake. An eye doctor such as Dr. Teten and Navigation Eye Care can help to determine what is going on with your vision. However, let’s take a few minutes to hear from Dr. Teten explain what these flashes and floaters are in your vision and what you can and should do when seeking proper eye care.

I see spots in my vision. Should I be alarmed?

If you experience a spot in your vision can cause you to be alarmed and think the worst. You may even have thought that you are going to go blind and that you may need to go to the emergency room. However, spots or streaks in vision are quite common in handling the different types of eye care-related concerns. Many people experience spots or streaks in their vision that come and go. Most people see these changes in their vision when staring at a white wall, outside on a sunny day, or while looking at something plain.

What is a floater? What are flashes in your vision? Floaters are dots or specks in your vision. Flashes look more like bright streaks or lines in your vision. Most often, these are harmless to your eye health and fade after some time. But sometimes, they can be a more severe symptom of an eye condition, requiring medical attention from your optometrist.

What are flashes and floaters in your vision?

Floaters occur when small particles settle out of the gel that fills your eye (vitreous). Often nearsighted people, where the eye is longer and the retina becomes stretched, experience floaters. The vitreous can change with age, and more particles come out of the gel. The vitreous changes with eye surgery, such as cataract surgery, and more floaters can be seen. The vitreous can change with inflammation inside the eye, like iritis. These clumps of gel cause a shadow on the retina, where light cannot pass through. The vitreous can pull away from the back of the eye (the retina), causing a posterior vitreous detachment [not retinal detachment]. The floaters can be seen as dark spots, tiny specks, lines, hair-like strands, or even semicircular shapes.

Flashes are seen as flashing lights, lightning streaks, or lights like fireworks in the vision. Flashes are a visual phenomenon seen when the retina is tugged or rubbed on by the vitreous. Flashes can occur with a posterior vitreous detachment and are more common as we age. The flashes described here are not the momentary flashes seen with postural changes like getting up too quickly or dehydration. 

When to seek out proper eye care and call for an eye doctor?

While flashes and floaters are often signs of vitreous aging, such as a posterior vitreous detachment or a nearsighted eye, there is still cause for concern with flashes and floaters in your vision. It is crucial that you call your optometrist right away to receive the proper eye care needed. Your optometrist can dilate your eyes to obtain a wide field of view to examine your vitreous and retina. And at Navigation Eye Care, Dr. Teten, an optometrist skilled in medical optometry, can take an ultra-wide field image of your retina called Optos. The Optos is the highest quality and most complete retinal image attainable with today’s technology. It is essential to maintain proper eye care to help diagnose systemic and ocular diseases. It also allows Dr. Teten to explain and educate people on changes within their eyes and the importance of a comprehensive eye examination.

  • New onset flashes and floaters
  • The gradual darkening of your vision, like a curtain over your vision
  • The sudden decrease in your central vision
  • Sudden dark spots like pepper flakes in your vision
  • Distortion or shadows in your peripheral vision
  • Blunt trauma to the eye, such as with a nerf gun or baseball


It is essential to contact your local optometrist if you have these symptoms listed above. For proper eye care, Dr. Teten educates her patients on the signs and symptoms of a more severe condition called retinal detachment. This retinal detachment requires immediate medical attention and can be repaired to save one’s vision. Suppose you or a loved one is experiencing these flashes or floaters. In that case, there is always availability for an ocular urgency to be seen by Dr. Teten at Navigation Eye Care.

So, if you or your child are experiencing flashes or floaters in your vision, seek proper eye care treatments. We encourage you to call the Navigation Eye Care team at 757-529-6889 or schedule an appointment. We are equipped and prepared to care for you and your whole family. If you are looking for excellent service in a friendly manner, check us out. We highly recommend that you choose Navigation Eye Care when looking for a top eye doctor in Chesapeake. We will serve in the Chesapeake area for many years and can’t wait to see you and your family.  

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