Sydney CBD


Flashes and Floaters

What is retinal tears?

When people reach middle age, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye may start to liquify and shrink. The vitreous gel will eventually pull away from the back wall of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). This condition naturally occurs when people reach their late 50s or early 60s, but sometimes earlier or later in life. It can happen earlier in people who:

  • Are nearsighted
  • Have had cataract surgery
  • Have had laser surgery
  • Have had inflammation inside the eye

PVDs often cause symptoms of new floaters in the vision and flashing of lights. Sometimes these symptoms can indicate problems such as retinal tears or detachments. The appearance of flashing lights or floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. While not all floaters and flashes are serious, you should have a medical examination by an eye care specialist to make sure there has been no damage to your retina.

What causes Flashing lights and floaters?

When the vitreous only causes a small retinal tear this is usually treated in the clinic with retinal lasers. However if a tear develops into retinal detachment, then referral to vitreo-retinal surgeons for surgery to repair the retina.