Flashes & Floaters

Floaters are small pieces of “debris” that float within the jelly of the eye called the vitreous humour. People see these in their field of vision and often describe seeing:

  • tiny black dots  
  • small, shadowy dots  
  • larger cloud-like spots 
  • long, narrow strands

They cast a shadow on to the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye).

Floaters and Flashes photo from Optique, opticians in Battersea, London

Floaters can occur as your eyes change with age. In most cases, they do not cause significant problems and do not require treatment.

In rare cases, floaters may be a sign of a retinal tear or retinal detachment (where the retina starts to pull away from the deeper layers of the eye). If you notice floaters and also flashes of light it is advisable to see your optician urgently or see an ophthalmologist urgently at one of the local hospital eye departments.

Some people are at risk of retinal detachment. These are people who:

  • have had eye surgery,
  • are moderately short sighted
  • have had previous eye injury
  • have certain eye diseases
  • have had a detached retina before.

It's important you have your eyes checked regularly by an optician (at least once every two years).

For help and advice on flashes and floaters, visit Optique, opticians in Battersea, London at 276 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3BS. Tel: 020 72282754

The information on this site is for Educational Purposes Only and is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any health conditions.