You might perceive floaters and flashes in your field of vision every once in a while, but seeing them often or very suddenly could indicate a serious threat to your vision called retinal detachment. Ophthalmologist Neel Lamba, MD, provides the latest treatments for retinal tears and detachment at his private practice in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. To book an eye exam and discuss your floaters and flashes, call Neel Lamba, MD today.
The term “floaters” broadly encompasses a variety of shapes that drift across your field of vision, including webs, specks, and springs. Typically, they’re located in the vitreous humor, which is a clear fluid within your eyes between the lens and retina.
Floaters are clumps of cells or proteins inside your eyeball. You can see them because they obstruct the light as it travels through the lens and to your retina, the light-sensitive area of tissue in the back of your eye. You aren’t seeing the cells themselves: Rather, you can see their shadow.
If you try to stare directly at a floater, it seems to drift out of your direct focus. They’re harmless and usually pretty easy to ignore, but you might choose to bring them up with Dr. Lamba if you feel that they impede your clear, focused vision or reading abilities.
Flashes are spots of light that you perceive in your field of vision. They aren’t really there, but you might detect them when the vitreous humor within your eye bumps or jostles the retina. They often happen if you rub your eyes hard or you get hit in the eye.
Like floaters, flashes are usually harmless. However, you should mention them to Dr. Lamba at your next appointment if they’re happening more often or if you’ve just recently started seeing them.
Most of the time, floaters and flashers aren’t a sign of anything serious. However, increasing instances of them or a sudden onset could indicate a more serious condition that might lead to vision loss without treatment.
You should book an appointment with Dr. Lamba if you experience:
These signs could indicate a serious condition called retinal detachment, which results in permanent vision loss without prompt treatment.
Dr. Lamba offers the newest available treatments for floaters and flashes that can repair retinal damage and prevent retinal detachment. While most instances of floaters or flashes don’t require treatment, Dr. Lamba might recommend laser photocoagulation if he detects retinal damage during your appointment.
During laser photocoagulation, Dr. Lamba uses a high-powered laser light to make tiny burns around the tear in your retina. The burned areas develop tough scar tissue, which creates a barrier around the retinal tear to stop it from worsening.
Dr. Lamba can also treat a detached retina with a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy, during which he removes the vitreous humor gel and repairs the retina.
Another option is a scleral buckle. During this surgery, Dr. Lamba uses a freezing instrument to close the retinal tear before placing a tiny band to your eyeball to hold it closed.
To find out more about bothersome floaters and flashes, call Neel Lamba, MD.