Flashes and Floaters
Floaters are common and often become more prevalent with age. If, however, one experiences a significant CHANGE in floaters or a NEW floater, a dilated eye exam is required to rule out a retinal tear, hole, or detachment. Similarly, if you have new onset bright flashes, with or without floaters, this should be checked promptly.
A new floater most commonly represents the vitreous gel of the eye settling with age to form condensations we see as floaters. As the vitreous gel settles away from the retina (the inner lining of the eye), this can cause traction or tugging on the retina and lead to a retinal tear or hole. This traction on the retina is sometimes seen as flashes of light (though many patients do not have any flashes). If a tear or hole is detected, it can be treated with laser or freezing treatment to prevent a retinal detachment. If a detachment occurs, this generally requires surgical repair to preserve/restore vision.
Early diagnosis is very important, so symptoms should be reported immediately. Should you have new symptoms, please call the office at (847) 497-2020 so we can arrange to see you within 24 hours.
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