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Floaters and Flashes


Your eye is filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous, which lies in front of the retina. As you age the vitreous begins to shrink and liquefy. This results in tiny clumps and strands of vitreous that cast shadows on the retina that we call floaters.

Floaters may look like small specks, dots, circles, lines or cobwebs that move around with eye movement. This is a normal part of the aging process and is referred to as a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) when the vitreous pulls away from the back of the eye. Floaters may fade or go away over time, but can also persist indefinitely.

FlashesFloaters and Flashes Diagram

Flashes can be a sign of traction (pulling) on the retina. They may look like lighting streaks or flashing lights in your field of vision. Flashes often occur with a formation of posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) because the vitreous becomes more mobile and can pull on the retina in areas where it is more adherent.

Most floaters and flashes are not a problem. However, there are times when they can be signs of a serious condition, such as a retinal tear or detachment, that needs to be treated immediately.

You should call our office immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Sudden onset of many new, large or dark floaters
  • Sudden onset of flashes the persist or increase in frequency
  • A sudden decrease in vision
  • You see a shadow or curtain covering part of your vision

François D. Trotta and the team at Idaho Retina are delighted to serve people in the Boise, Meridian, Nampa and the Caldwell areas. Call us today to schedule your Floaters and Flashers screening.


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Contact Us

128 E. Mallard Dr.
Boise, ID 83706
Fax: 208-323-8686