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When Should You See A Doctor About Eye Flashes?

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Floaters are small specks that move around in your field of vision. While it is normal for people with healthy eyes to see a few floaters from time to time, a sudden increase in floaters or flashes of light could indicate a problem. Protect your vision by meeting with one of the experienced and board-certified ophthalmologists at Kirk Eye Center in the Chicago area. We offer a full range of eye care services and examinations to make sure floaters and flashes do not lead to a more serious condition down the road. Contact one of our team members in River Forest or Gurnee, IL to learn more or schedule an appointment.

What causes eye floaters and flashes?

As we mentioned, occasional floaters are not a concern for most men and women. These tiny specks can look like gray or black spots that move when you try to focus on them. They also come in different shapes, like squiggly lines or cobwebs. Floaters are normally caused by changes in the vitreous gel, which fills the interior of your eye and gives it shape.

Eye flashes are sudden bright spots of light in your field of vision. When floaters become more frequent or are accompanied by flashes of light, your eye health may be affected. Flashes in your eyes can be caused by:

  • Retinal detachment: This is an emergency situation in which the retina tears or pulls away from its normal position. This separates the retina from blood vessels that provide oxygen and essential nourishment. Retinal detachment could cause permanent vision loss if left untreated.

  • Shrinking vitreous humor: The vitreous humor is what keeps your retina in place. If it gets smaller or shrinks down, it can tug on the retina and lead to flashes of light.

  • Vitreous hemorrhage: Blood can enter the space behind the retina due to broken blood vessels, leading to retinal detachment and eye flashes.

  • Migraines: Ocular migraines cause intense pain and other symptoms that sometimes involve your vision. These include sensitivity to light and sounds as well as flashes.

When to see an ophthalmologist

Eye floaters and flashes can happen in an instant, so you may be unsure whether your condition is worth assessing. Patients should understand that even minor concerns need to be evaluated by a trained professional. An ophthalmologist can examine the different parts of the eye, including the retina, and make sure your vision is not compromised. Contact Kirk Eye Center in River Forest or Gurnee, IL for an eye health evaluation if:

  • Eye floaters occur more frequently than normal

  • Eye floaters are accompanied by flashes of light

  • Eye flashes get suddenly stronger or brighter

  • Eye flashes will not go away on their own

Seek emergency care if eye flashes are accompanied by symptoms of a stroke, such as numbness or an inability to talk. Severe pain in your eyes also requires prompt medical care.

Meet with an ophthalmologist today

While a few floaters are nothing to be concerned about, there are circumstances where you should see an ophthalmologist. Do not delay treatment or think that your case is not “serious” enough for an evaluation. The professionals at Kirk Eye Center are concerned about your eye health and will take every measure possible to preserve your vision through a treatment plan. Contact our office in River Forest or Gurnee, IL to learn how we care for patients.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.