Floaters and Flashes

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Floaters and flashes are small, transparent or cloudy specks within the vitreous, the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Since they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision.

Our eyes are filled with a liquid substance known as vitreous. When we are born, the vitreous has the consistency of a gel. As we age, it liquefies and pulls away from the retina. This benign condition is called posterior vitreous detachment, or PVD. Floaters are the vitreous cells that cast a shadow in front of the retina creating dark spots, strands, or irregular shapes.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)/Floaters

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Floaters can also be caused by inflammation (uveitis), infection, bleeding inside the eye from abnormal blood vessels, injury, retinal tears and holes, and retinal detachment. If you are nearsighted, or have diabetes, or high blood pressure, and you see floaters, you should see your ophthalmologist for a retinal exam.

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