Many people experience eye floaters. They are the spots or lines that we can see floating into our field of vision and look like little dots, cobwebs, lines or veils. Eye floaters are usually most noticeable when we are looking at a blank wall or are trying to read. They are more common in those who are older and nearsighted or have had cataract eye surgery or any type of laser vision correction surgery.
Usually eye floaters are caused by small pieces of protein that break apart from the vitreous jelly. When light enters the eye, it cannot pass through the protein, which causes us to see spots.
If there is a shift in the vitreous jelly that is caused by rubbing or traction on the retina, people will experience quick sparks of light, usually referred to as flashes. These flashes of light usually originate in the corner of the eye and flash across the field of vision.
Eye floaters and flashes are usually harmless if they are experienced separately. Flashes usually go away within a few weeks and, although floaters can last longer, our brain is able to learn to ignore them.
However, if floaters and flashes are experienced together, they may be a symptom of a retinal tear or detachment. Eye floaters and flashes treatment begins with an eye exam to indicate if the floaters are simply pieces of protein or blood from a tear.