Floaters (or “spots”) affect a huge number of Canadians, though they are more prominent in older individuals. They are the small, semi-transparent squiggles or specks which float around your vision. They’re completely natural, and you’ve probably noticed them when looking in a mirror or at another bright surface.
Flashes, on the other hand, are disruptions to your vision caused by trauma or impact on the optic nerve. Often indicative of an underlying problem, they are frequently referred to as “seeing stars”.
If you notice floaters or experience flashes for the first time, arrange an appointment for a full eye health exam – vision problems can follow swiftly, so this is important.
All About Floaters
Inside your eyeball, between the cornea and the retina, is an expanse of gel-like substance called the vitreous. Over time, the water elements in the vitreous molecules break down, transforming the gel into a more liquid state.
This change also introduces minute particles which simply float around in the liquid.
Are Floaters Dangerous?
On their own, floaters are almost always benign and harmless. However, if you notice a sudden increase in the number or activity of floaters this can be a sign of a retinal tear or hole. A good rule of thumb is to visit an optometrist:
The first time you observe floaters
If the state of your floaters changes considerably
Can They Be Removed?
Floaters are permanent. Over time, your eye begins to compensate for their presence and starts to ignore them. As a result they stop being noticeable and, often, cease to impact your vision at all.
All About Flashes
Flashes are a little different. When light passes the cornea and lands on the retina, it is transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve. Flashes are the visual result of any trauma or impact to the optic nerve.
Are They Dangerous?
They are often indicative of a serious underlying condition. After any head trauma (like a collision in sports) the retina or optic nerve can be damaged. You may be concussed, and it’s important to check with one of our specialists soon after the injury.
Remember you do not have to fall unconscious to suffer from a concussion. If you have any flashing sensations in your vision, consider arranging an emergency eye exam so we can investigate – you may be at risk of retinal detachment, which, if left untreated, can cause total blindness in the eye.
Visit Us Today
You can find us on the corner of St. Paul Street and 3rd Avenue. We are 3 blocks down 3rd Avenue from Royal Inland Hospital, towards downtown. Our office is across the street from the Telus Store and Stuart Wood school yard (where the summer Farmer’s Market is on Saturdays).
“I’m from out of town and I needed to have my frames replaced. Nicky from the lab helped me reach out to my house of vision from my hometown. A replacement pair was sent here from home! I am very pleased with the service and work done. I would choose this place as my go to if I were to ever move to Kamloops!”
“Beautiful, inviting office. Very friendly staff. Efficient appointment. 10/10!”
“Brought in a broken pair of glasses that the frames had been discontinued. Nicky and Tracy went out of their way to find a replacement set of frames, when other shops just told me they couldn’t help. Thank you again”
Something blew under my safety glasses at work today. I was in agony after flushing my eyes several times and called around to local offices to see if I could get in. I’m new in town, and luckily I happened to ask someone who recommended Nicola Eye Care. When they heard what was going on, they told me to come right away. The front desk staff were unforgettably amazing to me and even took me outside afterward to point to the nearest drugstores. Dr. Ann Byard was very sweet and gentle and explained that I had a giant corneal abrasion. I appreciate everything you did for me today. I’d be at home terrified and probably still trying to find the non-existent thing that feels like it’s in my eye right now if I hadn’t gotten into your office so quickly. Many thanks!