Flashes And Floaters

Southern Eye Institute

Board-Certified Ophthalmologists & Board Certified Optometrist located in Houma, LA & Thibodaux, LA

Though flashes and floaters are common eye symptoms, you should schedule an eye examination right away if you’re experiencing a sudden increase in these symptoms. Flashes and floaters can be signs that you’ve damaged your retina. The experienced team of board-certified ophthalmologists at Southern Eye Institute in Houma and Thibodaux, Louisiana, uses cutting-edge diagnostic tools to evaluate your eyes and retina and provide treatments to improve eye health. To find out what’s causing your flashes and floaters, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Flashes and Floaters Q & A

What are flashes and floaters?

Flashes and floaters refer to visual symptoms that may indicate damage to your retina. Your retina is the tissue found at the back of your eye that is responsible for sending visual messages through your optic nerve to your brain. 


Flashes may occur when the vitreous gel in your eye rubs or pulls on your retina. When this happens, you may see sudden flashes of light, lightning streaks, or stars. The symptoms can occur for weeks or months.


Floaters refer to the small specks you may see floating across your eye when you’re staring at a blank wall. The floaters are clumps of cells in your vitreous gel that cast a shadow on your retina as they move through your eye.

You may be more at risk of developing floaters if you’re nearsighted, you’ve had cataract surgery, or you have eye inflammation.

When should I see a doctor about flashes and floaters?

You should schedule an appointment at Southern Eye Institute as soon as possible if there’s a sudden change in the size or frequency of your flashes and floaters. Or if you’re experiencing changes in vision, such as shadows in your peripheral vision or a general grayness. 

Flashes and floaters aren’t always caused by a serious eye condition, and it’s normal for the symptoms to increase as you get older. However, your flashes and floaters may be signs of a retinal detachment or a retinal tear. 

How are flashes and floaters treated?

Treatment for flashes and floaters depends on the underlying cause. In most cases, they go away on their own without any need for intervention. If they occur because of a retinal tear or impair your vision, Southern Eye Institute may recommend a vitrectomy.

A vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the excess vitreous gel from the eye as a way to clear flashes and floaters. However, it may not clear all the vitreous, and more vitreous can form later.

Southern Eye Institute develops individualized treatment plans to manage the underlying cause of your symptoms to improve overall eye health and vision. 

Flashes and floaters shouldn’t be ignored, especially if your symptoms are sudden, severe, or ongoing. For a comprehensive eye exam from an experienced team, contact Southern Eye Institute today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.