Floaters and Flashes Floaters and Flashes |
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Eye Clinic & Optometry Centre for Children and Adults

Floaters and Flashes

What are floaters and flashes?

The little small lines or dots moving around your vision are called floaters and they are more obvious when you are looking at a white wall or the clear blue sky.

Floaters are small pieces of gel or jelly which is located in the vitreous cavity filled with a jelly-like substance called the vitreous humour which holds the eye in shape.

Flashes are little sparks or starbursts of light which you may see on and off. It may be due to trauma or age-related reasons or even migraine. Migraine is a headache accompanied by seeing flashes of lights or wavy lines and even nausea, due to the spasm of blood vessels in the brain.

Causes of floaters and flashes

Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is an age-related condition whereby the vitreous liquefies and shrinks causing the vitreous to pull away and detach from the retina.


Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is more commonly seen in people who are short-sighted, have had inflammation inside the eye, trauma to the eye or have had eye surgery.

There are times when the vitreous does not detach completely from the retina, causing traction. Traction is when the vitreous tugs onto the retina causing flashes of light which could result in a hole or a tear in the retina or even bleeding. If the hole or tear is not sealed with laser, a retinal detachment could result.



Floaters are usually left alone and for you to monitor if there are any changes.

Vitrectomy is a procedure to remove your floaters whereby your vitreous in the eye gets removed and replaced. It is usually indicated when there is an emergency, bleeding in the vitreous (vitreous haemorrhage).

If you notice a sudden increase in size, numbers, or frequency of floaters or see flashes of light, please schedule an appointment with us to see an ophthalmologist to rule out for any holes or tears in your retina.