What are Floaters?8:02 PM
Do you ever see tiny specs floating around your vision? Some people describe them as little dots of "gnats" in their vision. Others see strings or strands. I've even known a patient who complained of a "letter Q" in her vision, and low and behold, when I looked inside her eye she really almost did! These little specs or spots move when your eye moves, and tend to be more visible on lighter or brighter backgrounds, like computer screens or looking outside on a bright day with a clear sky.
- Sudden onset, heavy floaters. Some people describe it as a swarm of flies inside the eye, or a snow globe shaken up. This could be a sign of a retinal tear, and you should immediately see an eye specialist.
- Flashes of light. Lightning bolts across the line of sight is a very common indication of a retinal tear. The eye only knows how to process light, so if tissue is being pulled or is already torn, it will get processed as a flash.
- Large floater or strand obscuring vision. This is typically a retinal tear, or the more harmless finding of a posterior vitreal detachment (PVD). A PVD is very common, and happens to almost every person as we continue through life. This occurs when the entire vitreous jelly loses the attachment to the retinal tissue all together, and falls in a big clump down to the bottom half of the internal eye.
- Floaters after a head injury. Floaters and flashes can be due to a retinal tear that occurred during your injury, so they need to be investigated. They are also very common after a concussion.