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Flashes and Floaters in Nashville, TN

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WHAT ARE Flashes and Floaters?

Wang Vision Institute was the first in the state to perform laser floater removal (LFR) using the state-of-the-art Ellex laser, which is used in treating some floater.

A large number of individuals can experience what's usually referred to as flashes and floaters. Although this phenomenon is not typically a sign of a serious issue, patients seeing these effects should have their eyes evaluated by a professional if they've shown up suddenly or worsened. Men and women who see floaters usually notice them more commonly while facing a bright or plain white backdrop, like on a computer screen or while driving.

Floaters can appear as rings, whips, sheets, squiggles, or other patterns that seem to move as the eye does, but they're actually tiny bits of vitreous gel that have clumped together in the eye. Meanwhile, flashes are bright white disturbances in the vision that last for a split-second. At times, flashes can be more pronounced and look like flashing lights or lightning. They can take the form of arcs or small streaks and are often seen through the corner of the eye. Flashes are more noticeable in the dark so you may not notice them throughout the day. Flashes are the result of the retina being pulled on by the vitreous gel.

When you start to notice flashes or floaters hampering your vision, it's important to have your eye health and function checked by a credentialed eye surgeon or optometrist. Should your condition merit advanced treatment, Wang Vision Institute in Nashville, TN is one of the only centers in the state that currently performs laser floater removal.

What causes flashes and floaters?

We have reason to believe that floaters and flashes can be brought on by the natural aging process. As we age, the vitreous fluid in the eyes can start to shrink and thicken, producing clumps. These clumps cast shadows in the retina, which are the floaters we see. The shrinking of the vitreous fluid may lead to flashes as well. While the vitreous shrinks, it can pull away from the retina, which may cause detachment. Certain vision surgeries may also cause men and women to notice more floaters in their vision, but this is usually nothing to be concerned with. In addition to these factors, eye trauma or injury may also lead to an increase in flashes or floaters.

Patients with severe myopia (nearsightedness) can be at a greater risk to notice flashes and floaters in their field of vision, as well as those with uncontrolled diabetes.

What Increases Your Risk of Flashes and Floaters?

Several factors may increase your risk of developing flashes and floaters in Nashville, TN, including:

  • Age: As mentioned, flashes and floaters are more common in patients as they age due to the natural changes that occur in the vitreous fluid.
  • Family history: If you have a family history of eye diseases or conditions, you may be at an increased risk of developing flashes and floaters.
  • Eye surgery: Certain eye surgeries may increase the likelihood of flashes and floaters. However, this is usually temporary and resolves without any issues.
  • Injuries: Any trauma or injury to the eyes can increase your chances of developing issues like flashes and floaters.
  • Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in the retina, leading to an increased risk of flashes and floaters.

When should I see a doctor for flashes and floaters?

Although flashes and floaters are generally common in patients of all ages, these effects can become more prominent or noticeable as patients age. Seeing some floaters or having an occasional flash is not typically a symptom of a bigger problem. Still, experiencing any of these issues is usually a sign that you should schedule a consultation at our Nashville, TN office:

  • Noticing a dramatic increase in the number of floaters
  • Seeing persistent flashes of light
  • Having "shaded" vision, similar to a cloud concealing the sun
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Noticing a decrease in your overall quality of vision

What are the Symptoms of Flashes and Floaters?

The most common symptoms associated with flashes and floaters include seeing moving spots in your vision, an increase in eye fatigue, and a decrease in the ability to focus on objects. Patients may also experience difficulty reading or viewing digital screens due to the presence of these effects. Some individuals in Nashville, TN may report noticing a blockage of their visual field with what appears to be a "curtain" in their vision. Patients with flashes and floaters may also notice light sensitivity, pain around the eyes, or even headaches. If you start to experience any of these symptoms, it's important to get your eyes checked by an eye care specialist as soon as possible.

Flashes and floaters FAQs

How common are flashes and floaters?

Everyone has flashes and floaters! Some people report seeing flashes of light or floating spots before the onset of a migraine headache. Others complain of them while viewing bright lights or when reading for long periods of time. However, if you notice a sudden change in your vision without explanation, you should have an eye examination to make sure there is no serious cause.

Do floaters and flashes eventually disappear?

Most floaters and flashes will go away over time. They could even disappear when you move your eyes around the room. For patients with underlying eye conditions, floaters and flashes may not go away on their own. That's why it's important to get an exam with an eye surgeon in Nashville, TN if you have concerns.

Can anything be done to prevent floaters?

Flashes and floaters can be bothersome if they constantly appear in your field of vision. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent them on your own. However, if you visit an eye surgeon like Dr. Wang, who specializes in flashes and floaters, we can perform tests and discuss treatment options.

How are flashes and floaters treated?

Wang Vision Institute was the first in the state to perform laser floater removal (LFR) using the state-of-the-art Ellex laser. 

During your visit to our Nashville, TN office, one of our skilled ophthalmologists will meet with you to determine the potential cause of your flashes or floaters. From there, we will help you decide if any treatment is necessary. In some cases, floaters are not a cause for concern; however, for some patients, the issue may get so out of hand that it dramatically obstructs their vision. At Wang Vision Institute, we are proud to offer the innovative laser floater removal. In the past, floaters could only be eradicated completely with major surgery, but now there is a non-invasive treatment option!  Currently, Wang Vision Institute is among the only centers in the state to offer laser floater removal.

Find relief from flashes and floaters

While floaters and flashes are not always an indication of a more serious eye condition, we understand how they can be troublesome or even distressing for some patients. To receive the guidance and information you need, contact our team at Wang Vision Institute in Nashville, TN and schedule a consultation with one of our highly skilled ophthalmologists. We will assess your overall eye health, ensure that your retina is in good condition, help you determine if treatment is necessary, and map out an appropriate course of action.

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