What are flashes and floaters?
The eye is filled with a clear, jelly-like substance called the vitreous humour that helps maintain the eye's shape. Debris within the vitreous humour casts a shadow on the retina at the back of the eye, and appears to 'float' in your field of vision. Floaters can appear in a variety of shapes and sizes such as black dots, smoke, shadow or hairs. They are more visible against clear, pale backgrounds such as white walls or blue sky. They move when your eye moves in different directions and seem to dart away when you look at them.

Most floaters are small but larger floaters can be annoying and make activities that require higher concentration, such as reading or driving more difficult. Although most people naturally experience floaters, they are usually harmless.

Flashes and Floaters can also be caused by a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) or a detachment / tear of the retina (the light sensitive tissue inside the eye). These conditions are very serious and require immediate investigation by an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist in a hospital eye department.

Remember - If you experience flashes and floaters suddenly in one eye (especially after any sort of head trauma) attend an Optometrist immediately for a sight test or attend the hospital eye department.

Who is at risk? Everyone, especially if you are myopic (short sighted) or play certain contact sports, for example