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What Are Flashes and Floaters?

Have you ever seen flashes of light, stars, or streaks that aren’t really there? A few of these flashes are seen by everyone from time to time. Usually you see them in one eye at a time. Flashes are often caused by the vitreous (the gel filling the inside of your eye) pulling on the retina (a membrane that lines the inside of your eye). Floaters look like dark specks, clouds, threads, or spider webs moving through your vision. Most people see them once in a while. Floaters may be pieces of gel or other material floating inside your eye. They are usually harmless.

Who Gets Flashes?

As you age or if you are nearsighted (have fuzzy distance vision), you are more likely to see flashes. Sometimes, flashes are signs of other eye problems that need care.

Who Gets Floaters?

The older you get, the more likely you’ll notice floaters. Floaters can also be caused by an eye injury or surgery. People who are very nearsighted also get more floaters. If floaters appear suddenly or greatly increase in number, they may be a sign of an eye problem that needs care.

 

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